During B cell maturation, transitional and mature B cells acquire cell-intrinsic features that determine their ability to exit quiescence and mount effective immune responses. Here we use label-free proteomics to quantify the proteome of B cell subsets from the mouse spleen and map the differential expression of environmental sensing, transcription, and translation initiation factors that define cellular identity and function. Cross-examination of the full-length transcriptome and proteome identifies mRNAs related to B cell activation and antibody secretion that are not accompanied by detection of the encoded proteins. In addition, proteomic data further suggests that the translational repressor PDCD4 restrains B cell responses, in particular those from marginal zone B cells, to a T-cell independent antigen. In summary, our molecular characterization of B cell maturation presents a valuable resource to further explore the mechanisms underpinning the specialized functions of B cell subsets, and suggest the presence of 'poised' mRNAs that enable expedited B cell responses.
Germinal centers (GCs) are essential for the establishment of long-lasting antibody responses. GC B cells rely on post-transcriptional RNA mechanisms to translate activation-associated transcriptional programs into functional changes in the cell proteome. However, the critical proteins driving these key mechanisms are still unknown. Here, we show that the RNA binding proteins TIA1 and TIAL1 are required for the generation of long-lasting GC responses. TIA1- and TIAL1-deficient GC B cells fail to undergo antigen-mediated positive selection, expansion and differentiation into B-cell clones producing high-affinity antibodies. Mechanistically, TIA1 and TIAL1 control the transcriptional identity of dark- and light-zone GC B cells and enable timely expression of the prosurvival molecule MCL1. Thus, we demonstrate here that TIA1 and TIAL1 are key players in the post-transcriptional program that selects high-affinity antigen-specific GC B cells.
Cellular metabolism is tightly regulated by growth factor signaling, which promotes metabolic rewiring to support growth and proliferation. While growth factor-induced transcriptional and post-translational modes of metabolic regulation have been well defined, whether post-transcriptional mechanisms impacting mRNA stability regulate this process is less clear. Here, we present the ZFP36/L1/L2 family of RNA-binding proteins and mRNA decay factors as key drivers of metabolic regulation downstream of acute growth factor signaling. We quantitatively catalog metabolic enzyme and nutrient transporter mRNAs directly bound by ZFP36 following growth factor stimulation-many of which encode rate-limiting steps in metabolic pathways. Further, we show that ZFP36 directly promotes the mRNA decay of Enolase 2 (Eno2), altering Eno2 protein expression and enzymatic activity, and provide evidence of a ZFP36/Eno2 axis during VEGF-stimulated developmental retinal angiogenesis. Thus, ZFP36-mediated mRNA decay serves as an important mode of metabolic regulation downstream of growth factor signaling within dynamic cell and tissue states.
Pre-existing but untranslated or 'poised' mRNA exists as a means to rapidly induce the production of specific proteins in response to stimuli and as a safeguard to limit the actions of these proteins. The translation of poised mRNA enables immune cells to express quickly genes that enhance immune responses. The molecular mechanisms that repress the translation of poised mRNA and, upon stimulation, enable translation have yet to be elucidated. They likely reflect intrinsic properties of the mRNAs and their interactions with trans-acting factors that direct poised mRNAs away from or into the ribosome. Here, I discuss mechanisms by which this might be regulated.
B cell lymphopoiesis requires dynamic modulation of the B cell transcriptome for timely coordination of somatic mutagenesis and DNA repair in progenitor B (pro-B) cells. Here, we show that, in pro-B cells, the RNA-binding proteins T cell intracellular antigen 1 (TIA1) and TIA1-like protein (TIAL1) act redundantly to enable developmental progression. They are global splicing regulators that control the expression of hundreds of mRNAs, including those involved in DNA damage repair. Mechanistically, TIA1 and TIAL1 bind to 5' splice sites for exon definition, splicing, and expression of DNA damage sensors, such as Chek2 and Rif1. In their absence, pro-B cells show exacerbated DNA damage, altered P53 expression, and increased cell death. Our study uncovers the importance of tight regulation of RNA splicing by TIA1 and TIAL1 for the expression of integrative transcriptional programs that control DNA damage sensing and repair during B cell development.
The ZFP36 family of RNA-binding proteins acts post-transcriptionally to repress translation and promote RNA decay. Studies of genes and pathways regulated by the ZFP36 family in CD4 T cells have focussed largely on cytokines, but their impact on metabolic reprogramming and differentiation is unclear. Using CD4 T cells lacking Zfp36 and Zfp36l1, we combined the quantification of mRNA transcription, stability, abundance and translation with crosslinking immunoprecipitation and metabolic profiling to determine how they regulate T cell metabolism and differentiation. Our results suggest that ZFP36 and ZFP36L1 act directly to limit the expression of genes driving anabolic processes by two distinct routes: by targeting transcription factors and by targeting transcripts encoding rate-limiting enzymes. These enzymes span numerous metabolic pathways including glycolysis, one-carbon metabolism and glutaminolysis. Direct binding and repression of transcripts encoding glutamine transporter SLC38A2 correlated with increased cellular glutamine content in ZFP36/ZFP36L1-deficient T cells. Increased conversion of glutamine to α-ketoglutarate in these cells was consistent with direct binding of ZFP36/ZFP36L1 to Gls (encoding glutaminase) and Glud1 (encoding glutamate dehydrogenase). We propose that ZFP36 and ZFP36L1 as well as glutamine and α-ketoglutarate are limiting factors for the acquisition of the cytotoxic CD4 T cell fate. Our data implicate ZFP36 and ZFP36L1 in limiting glutamine anaplerosis and differentiation of activated CD4 T cells, likely mediated by direct binding to transcripts of critical genes that drive these processes.
CD8 T cell differentiation into effector cells is initiated early after antigen encounter by signals from the T cell antigen receptor and costimulatory molecules. The molecular mechanisms that establish the timing and rate of differentiation however are not defined. Here we show that the RNA binding proteins (RBP) ZFP36 and ZFP36L1 limit the rate of differentiation of activated naïve CD8 T cells and the potency of the resulting cytotoxic lymphocytes. The RBP function in an early and short temporal window to enforce dependency on costimulation via CD28 for full T cell activation and effector differentiation by directly binding mRNA of NF-κB, Irf8 and Notch1 transcription factors and cytokines, including Il2. Their absence in T cells, or the adoptive transfer of small numbers of CD8 T cells lacking the RBP, promotes resilience to influenza A virus infection without immunopathology. These findings highlight ZFP36 and ZFP36L1 as nodes for the integration of the early T cell activation signals controlling the speed and quality of the CD8 T cell response.
The RNA-binding protein polypyrimidine tract binding protein 1 (PTBP1) has been found to have roles in CD4 T-cell activation, but its function in CD8 T cells remains untested. We show it is dispensable for the development of naïve mouse CD8 T cells, but is necessary for the optimal expansion and production of effector molecules by antigen-specific CD8 T cells in vivo. PTBP1 has an essential role in regulating the early events following activation of the naïve CD8 T cell leading to IL-2 and TNF production. It is also required to protect activated CD8 T cells from apoptosis. PTBP1 controls alternative splicing of over 400 genes in naïve CD8 T cells in addition to regulating the abundance of ∼200 mRNAs. PTBP1 is required for the nuclear accumulation of c-Fos, NFATc2, and NFATc3, but not NFATc1. This selective effect on NFAT proteins correlates with PTBP1-promoted expression of the shorter Aβ1 isoform and exon 13 skipped Aβ2 isoform of the catalytic A-subunit of calcineurin phosphatase. These findings reveal a crucial role for PTBP1 in regulating CD8 T-cell activation.
To identify roles of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in the differentiation or survival of antibody secreting plasma cells we performed a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screen of 1213 mouse RBPs for their ability to affect proliferation and/or survival, and the abundance of differentiated CD138 + cells in vitro. We validated the binding partners CSDE1 and STRAP as well as the mA binding protein YTHDF2 as promoting the accumulation of CD138 + cells in vitro. We validated the EIF3 subunits EIF3K and EIF3L and components of the CCR4-NOT complex as inhibitors of CD138 + cell accumulation in vitro. In chimeric mouse models YTHDF2-deficient plasma cells failed to accumulate.
The germinal centre (GC) is required for the generation of high affinity antibodies and immunological memory. Here we show that the RNA binding protein HuR has an essential function in GC B cells to sustain the GC response. In its absence, the GC reaction and production of high-affinity antibody is severely impaired. Mechanistically, HuR affects the transcriptome qualitatively and quantitatively. The expression and splicing patterns of hundreds of genes are altered in the absence of HuR. Among these genes, HuR is required for the expression of Myc and a Myc-dependent transcriptional program that controls GC B cell proliferation and Ig somatic hypermutation. Additionally, HuR regulates the splicing and abundance of mRNAs required for entry into and transition through the S phase of the cell cycle, and it modulates a gene signature associated with DNA deamination protecting GC B cells from DNA damage and cell death.
DDX3X is a ubiquitously expressed RNA helicase involved in multiple stages of RNA biogenesis. DDX3X is frequently mutated in Burkitt lymphoma, but the functional basis for this is unknown. Here, we show that loss-of-function DDX3X mutations are also enriched in MYC-translocated diffuse large B cell lymphoma and reveal functional cooperation between mutant DDX3X and MYC. DDX3X promotes the translation of mRNA encoding components of the core translational machinery, thereby driving global protein synthesis. Loss-of-function DDX3X mutations moderate MYC-driven global protein synthesis, thereby buffering MYC-induced proteotoxic stress during early lymphomagenesis. Established lymphoma cells restore full protein synthetic capacity by aberrant expression of DDX3Y, a Y chromosome homolog, the expression of which is normally restricted to the testis. These findings show that DDX3X loss of function can buffer MYC-driven proteotoxic stress and highlight the capacity of male B cell lymphomas to then compensate for this loss by ectopic DDX3Y expression.
The maturation of immature B cells and the survival of mature B cells is stringently controlled to maintain a diverse repertoire of antibody specificities while avoiding self-reactivity. At the molecular level this is regulated by signalling from membrane immunoglobulin and the BAFF-receptor which sustain a pro-survival programme of gene expression. Whether and how posttranscriptional mechanisms contribute to B cell maturation and survival remains poorly understood. Here we show that the polypyrimidine tract binding proteins (PTBP) PTBP1 and PTBP3 bind to a large and overlapping set of transcripts in B cells. Both PTBP1 and PTBP3 bind to introns and exons where they are predicted to regulate alternative splicing. Moreover, they also show high-density of binding to 3' untranslated regions suggesting they influence the transcriptome in diverse ways. We show that PTBP1 and PTBP3 are required in B cells beyond the immature cell stage to sustain transitional B cells and the B1, marginal zone and follicular B cell lineages. Therefore, PTBP1 and PTBP3 promote the maturation of quiescent B cells by regulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 genome editing system has been broadly adopted for high-throughput genetic screens. However, the application of genome-wide single guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries can be challenging. We generated a custom sgRNA library, an order of magnitude smaller than genome-wide alternatives, to facilitate the genetic screening of RNA binding proteins (RBPs). We demonstrated the utility of our reagent in a genetic screen for RBPs that conveyed cellular resistance or sensitivity to oxidative stress induced by paraquat. This identified that CSDE1 and STRAP, proteins that interact with each other, convey sensitivity to oxidative stress and that Pumilio homologues (PUM1 and PUM2) convey resistance. Targeting eIF4-E1 and -A1 protected cells from high-dose paraquat, whereas eIF4E2 targeted cells did less well. We also found that G3BP1 promoted sensitivity to a low dose of paraquat but protected cells at a higher dose. Our study highlights the use of genetic screens to identify roles of RBPs and identifies novel genes regulating sensitivity to oxidative stress.
The annotation of small open reading frames (smORFs) of less than 100 codons (<300 nucleotides) is challenging due to the large number of such sequences in the genome.
RAC1 activity is critical for intestinal homeostasis, and is required for hyperproliferation driven by loss of the tumour suppressor gene Apc in the murine intestine. To avoid the impact of direct targeting upon homeostasis, we reasoned that indirect targeting of RAC1 via RAC-GEFs might be effective. Transcriptional profiling of Apc deficient intestinal tissue identified Vav3 and Tiam1 as key targets. Deletion of these indicated that while TIAM1 deficiency could suppress Apc-driven hyperproliferation, it had no impact upon tumourigenesis, while VAV3 deficiency had no effect. Intriguingly, deletion of either gene resulted in upregulation of Vav2, with subsequent targeting of all three (Vav2 Vav3 Tiam1), profoundly suppressing hyperproliferation, tumourigenesis and RAC1 activity, without impacting normal homeostasis. Critically, the observed RAC-GEF dependency was negated by oncogenic KRAS mutation. Together, these data demonstrate that while targeting RAC-GEF molecules may have therapeutic impact at early stages, this benefit may be lost in late stage disease.
Cell migration relies on coordinated activity of chemotactic and guidance receptors. Here, we report a specific role for the RNA-binding protein ZFP36L1 in limiting the abundance of molecules involved in the homing of antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) to the bone marrow (BM). In the absence of ZFP36L1, ASCs build up in the spleen and the liver and show diminished accumulation in the BM. ZFP36L1 facilitates migration by directly regulating G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) and the integrin chains α4 and β1 in splenic ASCs. Expression of CXCR4 and of the integrins α4 and β1 is differentially regulated on ASCs produced at the early and late stages of the immune response. Consequently, deletion of the Zfp36l1 gene has a stronger effect on BM accumulation of high-affinity ASCs formed late in the response. Thus, ZFP36L1 is an integral part of the regulatory network controlling gene expression during ASC homing.
Polypyrimidine Tract Binding Protein 1 (PTBP1) is a RNA-binding protein (RBP) expressed throughout B cell development. Deletion of in mouse pro-B cells results in upregulation of PTBP2 and normal B cell development. We show that PTBP2 compensates for PTBP1 in B cell ontogeny as deletion of both and results in a complete block at the pro-B cell stage and a lack of mature B cells. In pro-B cells PTBP1 ensures precise synchronisation of the activity of cyclin dependent kinases at distinct stages of the cell cycle, suppresses S-phase entry and promotes progression into mitosis. PTBP1 controls mRNA abundance and alternative splicing of important cell cycle regulators including CYCLIN-D2, c-MYC, p107 and CDC25B. Our results reveal a previously unrecognised mechanism mediated by a RBP that is essential for B cell ontogeny and integrates transcriptional and post-translational determinants of progression through the cell cycle.
Effective T cell responses against infections and tumors require a swift and ample production of cytokines, chemokines, and cytotoxic molecules. The production of these effector molecules relies on rapid changes of gene expression, determined by cell-intrinsic signals and environmental cues. Here, we review our current understanding of gene-specific regulatory networks that define the magnitude and timing of cytokine production in CD8 T cells. We discuss the dynamic features of post-transcriptional control during CD8 T cell homeostasis and activation, and focus on the crosstalk between cell signaling and RNA-binding proteins. Elucidating gene-specific regulatory circuits may help in the future to rectify dysfunctional T cell responses.
Macrophages drive atherosclerotic plaque progression and rupture; hence, attenuating their atherosclerosis-inducing properties holds promise for reducing coronary heart disease (CHD). Recent studies in mouse models have demonstrated that Tribbles 1 (Trib1) regulates macrophage phenotype and shows that deficiency increases plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels, suggesting that reduced expression mediates the strong genetic association between the locus and increased CHD risk in man. However, we report here that myeloid-specific (m) deficiency reduces early atheroma formation and that m transgene expression increases atherogenesis. Mechanistically, m increased macrophage lipid accumulation and the expression of a critical receptor (OLR1), promoting oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake and the formation of lipid-laden foam cells. As and RNA levels were also strongly correlated in human macrophages, we suggest that a conserved, TRIB1-mediated mechanism drives foam cell formation in atherosclerotic plaque and that inhibiting mTRIB1 could be used therapeutically to reduce CHD.
Alternative translation is an important mechanism of post-transcriptional gene regulation leading to the expression of different protein isoforms originating from the same mRNA. Here, we describe an abundant long isoform of the stress/p38-activated protein kinase MK2. This isoform is constitutively translated from an alternative CUG translation initiation start site located in the 5' UTR of its mRNA. The RNA helicase eIF4A1 is needed to ensure translation of the long and the known short isoforms of MK2, of which the molecular properties were determined. Only the short isoform phosphorylated Hsp27 in vivo, supported migration and stress-induced immediate early gene (IEG) expression. Interaction profiling revealed short-isoform-specific binding partners that were associated with migration. In contrast, the long isoform contains at least one additional phosphorylatable serine in its unique N terminus. In sum, our data reveal a longer isoform of MK2 with distinct physiological properties.
A fast antibody response can be critical to contain rapidly dividing pathogens. This can be achieved by the expansion of antigen-specific B cells in response to T-cell help followed by differentiation into plasmablasts. MicroRNA-155 (miR-155) is required for optimal T-cell-dependent extrafollicular responses via regulation of PU.1, although the cellular processes underlying this defect are largely unknown. Here, we show that miR-155 regulates the early expansion of B-blasts and later on the survival and proliferation of plasmablasts in a B-cell-intrinsic manner, by tracking antigen-specific B cells in vivo since the onset of antigen stimulation. In agreement, comparative analysis of the transcriptome of miR-155-sufficient and miR-155-deficient plasmablasts at the peak of the response showed that the main processes regulated by miR-155 were DNA metabolic process, DNA replication, and cell cycle. Thus, miR-155 controls the extent of the extrafollicular response by regulating the survival and proliferation of B-blasts, plasmablasts and, consequently, antibody production.
RNA binding proteins (RBPs) regulate fundamental processes such as differentiation and self-renewal by enabling the dynamic control of protein abundance or isoforms, or through the regulation of non-coding RNA. RBPs are increasingly appreciated as being essential for normal hematopoiesis and they are understood to play fundamental roles in hematological malignancies by acting as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Alternative splicing has been shown to play roles in the development of specific hematopoietic lineages and sequence specific mutations in RBPs lead to dysregulated splicing in myeloid and lymphoid leukemias. RBPs that regulate translation contribute to the development and function of hematological lineages, act as nodes for the action of multiple signaling pathways and contribute to hematological malignancies. These insights broaden our mechanistic understanding of the molecular regulation of hematopoiesis and offer opportunities to develop disease biomarkers and new therapeutic modalities.
Macrophages possess intrinsic tumoricidal activity, yet tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) rapidly adopt an alternative phenotype within the tumor microenvironment that is marked by tumor-promoting immunosuppressive and trophic functions. The mechanisms that promote such TAM polarization remain poorly understood, but once identified, they may represent important therapeutic targets to block the tumor-promoting functions of TAMs and restore their anti-tumor potential. Here, we have characterized TAMs in a mouse model of metastatic ovarian cancer. We show that ovarian cancer cells promote membrane-cholesterol efflux and depletion of lipid rafts from macrophages. Increased cholesterol efflux promoted IL-4-mediated reprogramming, including inhibition of IFNγ-induced gene expression. Genetic deletion of ABC transporters, which mediate cholesterol efflux, reverts the tumor-promoting functions of TAMs and reduces tumor progression. These studies reveal an unexpected role for membrane-cholesterol efflux in driving TAM-mediated tumor progression while pointing to a potentially novel anti-tumor therapeutic strategy.
In mammals, the B-cell lineage arises from pluripotent progenitors in the bone marrow. During their development, B-cells undergo lineage specification and commitment, followed by expansion and selection. These processes are mediated by regulated changes in gene expression programmes, rearrangements of immunoglobulin (Ig) genes, and well-timed rounds of proliferation and apoptosis. Many of these processes are initiated by environmental factors including cytokines, chemokines, and cell-cell contacts. Developing B-cells process these environmental cues into stage-specific functions via signalling pathways including the PI3K, MAPK, or JAK-STAT pathway. The cytokines FLT3-Ligand and c-Kit-Ligand are important for the early expansion of the B-cell precursors at different developmental stages and conditions. Interleukin 7 is essential for commitment to the B-cell lineage and for orchestrating the Ig recombination machinery. After rearrangement of the immunoglobulin heavy chain, proliferation and apoptosis, and thus selection, are mediated by the clonal pre-B-cell receptor, and, following light chain rearrangement, by the B-cell receptor.
Members of the ZFP36 family of RNA-binding proteins regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by binding to AU-rich elements in the 3'UTR of mRNA and stimulating mRNA degradation. The proteins within this family target different transcripts in different tissues. In particular, ZFP36 targets myogenic transcripts and may have a role in adult muscle stem cell quiescence. Our study examined the requirement of ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 in adult muscle cell fate regulation.
Influenza virus outbreaks remain a serious threat to public health. Greater understanding of how cells targeted by the virus respond to the infection can provide insight into the pathogenesis of disease. Here we examined the transcriptional profile of infected and uninfected type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AEC) in the lungs of influenza virus infected mice. We show for the first time the unique gene expression profiles induced by the infection of AEC as well as the transcriptional response of uninfected bystander cells. This work allows us to distinguish the direct and indirect effects of infection at the cellular level. Transcriptome analysis revealed that although directly infected and bystander AEC from infected animals shared many transcriptome changes when compared to AEC from uninfected animals, directly infected cells compared to bystander uninfected AEC produce more interferon and express lower Wnt signaling associated transcripts, while concurrently expressing more transcripts associated with cell death pathways. The Wnt signaling pathway was downregulated in both infected AEC and infected human lung epithelial A549 cells. Wnt signaling did not affect type I and III interferon production by infected A549 cells. Our results reveal unique transcriptional changes that occur within infected AEC and show that influenza virus downregulates Wnt signaling. In light of recent findings that Wnt signaling is essential for lung epithelial stem cells, our findings reveal a mechanism by which influenza virus may affect host lung repair. Influenza virus infection remains a major public health problem. Utilizing a recombinant green fluorescent protein expressing influenza virus we compared the in vivo transcriptomes of directly infected and uninfected bystander cells from infected mouse lungs and discovered many pathways uniquely regulated in each population. The Wnt signaling pathway was downregulated in directly infected cells and was shown to affect virus but not interferon production. Our study is the first to discern the in vivo transcriptome changes induced by direct viral infection as compared to mere exposure to the lung inflammatory milieu and highlight the downregulation of Wnt signaling. This downregulation has important implications for understanding influenza virus pathogenesis as Wnt signaling is critical for lung epithelial stem cells and lung epithelial cell differentiation. Our findings reveal a mechanism by which influenza virus may affect host lung repair and suggest interventions that prevent damage or accelerate recovery of the lung.
Memory T cells are critical for the immune response to recurring infections. Their instantaneous reactivity to pathogens is empowered by the persistent expression of cytokine-encoding mRNAs. How the translation of proteins from pre-formed cytokine-encoding mRNAs is prevented in the absence of infection has remained unclear. Here we found that protein production in memory T cells was blocked via a 3' untranslated region (3' UTR)-mediated process. Germline deletion of AU-rich elements (AREs) in the Ifng-3' UTR led to chronic cytokine production in memory T cells. This aberrant protein production did not result from increased expression and/or half-life of the mRNA. Instead, AREs blocked the recruitment of cytokine-encoding mRNA to ribosomes; this block depended on the ARE-binding protein ZFP36L2. Thus, AREs mediate repression of translation in mouse and human memory T cells by preventing undesirable protein production from pre-formed cytokine-encoding mRNAs in the absence of infection.
Successful vaccines rely on activating a functional humoral response that results from promoting a proper germinal center (GC) reaction. Key in this process is the activation of follicular B cells that need to acquire antigens and to present them to cognate CD4 T cells. Here, we report that follicular B cells can phagocytose large antigen-coated particles, a process thought to be exclusive of specialized antigen-presenting cells such as macrophages and dendritic cells. We show that antigen phagocytosis by B cells is BCR-driven and mechanistically dependent on the GTPase RhoG. Using mice, we show that phagocytosis of antigen by B cells is important for the development of a strong GC response and the generation of high-affinity class-switched antibodies. Importantly, we show that the potentiation effect of alum, a common vaccine adjuvant, requires direct phagocytosis of alum-antigen complexes by B cells. These data suggest a new avenue for vaccination approaches by aiming to deliver 1-3 μm size antigen particles to follicular B cells.
Fighting external pathogens requires an ever-changing immune system that relies on tight regulation of gene expression. Transcriptional control is the first step to build efficient responses while preventing immunodeficiencies and autoimmunity. Post-transcriptional regulation of RNA editing, location, stability, and translation are the other key steps for final gene expression, and they are all controlled by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Nowadays we have a deep understanding of how transcription factors control the immune system but recent evidences suggest that post-transcriptional regulation by RBPs is equally important for both development and activation of immune responses. Here, we review current knowledge about how post-transcriptional control by RBPs shapes our immune system and discuss the perspective of RBPs being the key players of a hidden immune cell epitranscriptome.
Antibody affinity maturation occurs in germinal centers (GCs), where B cells cycle between the light zone (LZ) and the dark zone. In the LZ, GC B cells bearing immunoglobulins with the highest affinity for antigen receive positive selection signals from helper T cells, which promotes their rapid proliferation. Here we found that the RNA-binding protein PTBP1 was needed for the progression of GC B cells through late S phase of the cell cycle and for affinity maturation. PTBP1 was required for proper expression of the c-MYC-dependent gene program induced in GC B cells receiving T cell help and directly regulated the alternative splicing and abundance of transcripts that are increased during positive selection to promote proliferation.
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are essential for the development and function of the immune system. They interact dynamically with RNA to control its biogenesis and turnover by transcription-dependent and transcription-independent mechanisms. In this Review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms by which RBPs allow gene expression changes to occur at different speeds and to varying degrees, and which RBPs regulate the diversity of the transcriptome and proteome. These proteins are nodes for integration of transcriptional and signaling networks and are intimately linked to intermediary metabolism. They are essential components of regulatory feedback mechanisms that maintain immune tolerance and limit inflammation. The role of RBPs in malignancy and autoimmunity has led to their emergence as targets for the development of new therapeutic modalities.
Post-transcriptional regulation of cellular mRNA is essential for protein synthesis. Here we describe the importance of mRNA translational repression and mRNA subcellular location for protein expression during B lymphocyte activation and the DNA damage response. Cytoplasmic RNA granules are formed upon cell activation with mitogens, including stress granules that contain the RNA binding protein Tia1. Tia1 binds to a subset of transcripts involved in cell stress, including p53 mRNA, and controls translational silencing and RNA granule localization. DNA damage promotes mRNA relocation and translation in part due to dissociation of Tia1 from its mRNA targets. Upon DNA damage, p53 mRNA is released from stress granules and associates with polyribosomes to increase protein synthesis in a CAP-independent manner. Global analysis of cellular mRNA abundance and translation indicates that this is an extended ATM-dependent mechanism to increase protein expression of key modulators of the DNA damage response.Sequestering mRNA in cytoplasmic stress granules is a mechanism for translational repression. Here the authors find that p53 mRNA, present in stress granules in activated B lymphocytes, is released upon DNA damage and is translated in a CAP-independent manner.
Bile acids function not only as detergents that facilitate lipid absorption but also as signaling molecules that activate the nuclear receptor farnesoid X receptor (FXR). FXR agonists are currently being evaluated as therapeutic agents for a number of hepatic diseases due to their lipid-lowering and antiinflammatory properties. FXR is also essential for maintaining bile acid homeostasis and prevents the accumulation of bile acids. Elevated bile acids activate FXR, which in turn switches off bile acid synthesis by reducing the mRNA levels of bile acid synthesis genes, including cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1). Here, we show that FXR activation triggers a rapid posttranscriptional mechanism to degrade Cyp7a1 mRNA. We identified the RNA-binding protein Zfp36l1 as an FXR target gene and determined that gain and loss of function of ZFP36L1 reciprocally regulate Cyp7a1 mRNA and bile acid levels in vivo. Moreover, we found that mice lacking hepatic ZFP36L1 were protected from diet-induced obesity and steatosis. The reduced adiposity and antisteatotic effects observed in ZFP36L1-deficient mice were accompanied by impaired lipid absorption that was consistent with altered bile acid metabolism. Thus, the ZFP36L1-dependent regulation of bile acid metabolism is an important metabolic contributor to obesity and hepatosteatosis.
Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression shapes the B cell transcriptome and controls messenger RNA (mRNA) translation into protein. Recent reports have highlighted the importance of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) for mRNA splicing, subcellular location, stability, and translation during B lymphocyte development, activation, and differentiation. Here we describe individual-nucleotide resolution UV cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (iCLIP) in primary lymphocytes, a method that maps RNA-protein interactions in a genome-wide scale allowing mechanistic analysis of RBP function. We discuss the latest improvements in iCLIP technology and provide some examples of how integration of the RNA-protein interactome with other high-throughput mRNA sequencing methodologies uncovers the important role of RBP-mediated RNA regulation in key biological cell processes.
RNA-binding proteins of the ZFP36 family are best known for inhibiting the expression of cytokines through binding to AU-rich elements in the 3' untranslated region and promoting mRNA decay. Here we identified an indispensable role for ZFP36L1 as the regulator of a post-transcriptional hub that determined the identity of marginal-zone B cells by promoting their proper localization and survival. ZFP36L1 controlled a gene-expression program related to signaling, cell adhesion and locomotion; it achieved this in part by limiting expression of the transcription factors KLF2 and IRF8, which are known to enforce the follicular B cell phenotype. These mechanisms emphasize the importance of integrating transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes by RNA-binding proteins for maintaining cellular identity among closely related cell types.
Lymphocytes undergo dynamic changes in gene expression as they develop from progenitor cells lacking antigen receptors, to mature cells that are prepared to mount immune responses. While transcription factors have established roles in lymphocyte development, they act in concert with post-transcriptional and post-translational regulators to determine the proteome. Furthermore, the post-transcriptional regulation of RNA regulons consisting of mRNAs whose protein products act cooperatively allows RNA binding proteins to exert their effects at multiple points in a pathway. Here, we review recent evidence demonstrating the importance of RNA binding proteins that control the cell cycle in lymphocyte development and discuss the implications for tumorigenesis. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
The RNA-binding proteins Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 act redundantly to enforce the β-selection checkpoint during thymopoiesis, yet their molecular targets remain largely unknown. In this study, we identify these targets on a genome-wide scale in primary mouse thymocytes and show that Zfp36l1/l2 regulate DNA damage response and cell cycle transcripts to ensure proper β-selection. Double-negative 3 thymocytes lacking Zfp36l1/l2 share a gene expression profile with postselected double-negative 3b cells despite the absence of intracellular TCRβ and reduced IL-7 signaling. Our findings show that in addition to controlling the timing of proliferation at β-selection, posttranscriptional control by Zfp36l1/l2 limits DNA damage responses, which are known to promote thymocyte differentiation. Zfp36l1/l2 therefore act as posttranscriptional safeguards against chromosomal instability and replication stress by integrating pre-TCR and IL-7 signaling with DNA damage and cell cycle control.
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) facilitate post-transcriptional control of eukaryotic gene expression at multiple levels. The RBP tristetraprolin (TTP/Zfp36) is a signal-induced phosphorylated anti-inflammatory protein guiding unstable mRNAs of pro-inflammatory proteins for degradation and preventing translation. Using iCLIP, we have identified numerous mRNA targets bound by wild-type TTP and by a non-MK2-phosphorylatable TTP mutant (TTP-AA) in 1 h LPS-stimulated macrophages and correlated their interaction with TTP to changes at the level of mRNA abundance and translation in a transcriptome-wide manner. The close similarity of the transcriptomes of TTP-deficient and TTP-expressing macrophages upon short LPS stimulation suggested an effective inactivation of TTP by MK2, whereas retained RNA-binding capacity of TTP-AA to 3'UTRs caused profound changes in the transcriptome and translatome, altered NF-κB-activation and induced cell death. Increased TTP binding to the 3'UTR of feedback inhibitor mRNAs, such as Ier3, Dusp1 or Tnfaip3, in the absence of MK2-dependent TTP neutralization resulted in a strong reduction of their protein synthesis contributing to the deregulation of the NF-κB-signaling pathway. Taken together, our study uncovers a role of TTP as a suppressor of feedback inhibitors of inflammation and highlights the importance of fine-tuned TTP activity-regulation by MK2 in order to control the pro-inflammatory response.
Progression through the stages of lymphocyte development requires coordination of the cell cycle. Such coordination ensures genomic integrity while cells somatically rearrange their antigen receptor genes [in a process called variable-diversity-joining (VDJ) recombination] and, upon successful rearrangement, expands the pools of progenitor lymphocytes. Here we show that in developing B lymphocytes, the RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 are critical for maintaining quiescence before precursor B cell receptor (pre-BCR) expression and for reestablishing quiescence after pre-BCR-induced expansion. These RBPs suppress an evolutionarily conserved posttranscriptional regulon consisting of messenger RNAs whose protein products cooperatively promote transition into the S phase of the cell cycle. This mechanism promotes VDJ recombination and effective selection of cells expressing immunoglobulin-μ at the pre-BCR checkpoint.
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a peripheral T-cell lymphoma presenting mostly in children and young adults. The natural progression of this disease is largely unknown as is the identity of its true cell of origin. Here we present a model of peripheral ALCL pathogenesis where the malignancy is initiated in early thymocytes, before T-cell receptor (TCR) β-rearrangement, which is bypassed in CD4/NPM-ALK transgenic mice following Notch1 expression. However, we find that a TCR is required for thymic egress and development of peripheral murine tumours, yet this TCR must be downregulated for T-cell lymphomagenesis. In keeping with this, clonal TCR rearrangements in human ALCL are predominantly in-frame, but often aberrant, with clonal TCRα but no comparable clonal TCRβ rearrangement, yielding events that would not normally be permissive for survival during thymic development. Children affected by ALCL may thus harbour thymic lymphoma-initiating cells capable of seeding relapse after chemotherapy.
The production of high-affinity antibodies by B cells is essential for pathogen clearance. Antibody affinity for antigen is increased through the affinity maturation in germinal centers (GCs). This is an iterative process in which B cells cycle between proliferation coupled with the acquisition of mutations and antigen-based positive selection, resulting in retention of the highest-affinity B cell clones. The posttranscriptional regulator microRNA-155 (miR-155) is critical for efficient affinity maturation and the maintenance of the GCs; however, the cellular and molecular mechanism by which miR-155 regulates GC responses is not well understood. Here, we utilized a miR-155 reporter mouse strain and showed that miR-155 is coexpressed with the proto-oncogene encoding c-MYC in positively selected B cells. Functionally, miR-155 protected positively selected c-MYC+ B cells from apoptosis, allowing clonal expansion of this population, providing an explanation as to why Mir155 deletion impairs affinity maturation and promotes the premature collapse of GCs. We determined that miR-155 directly inhibits the Jumonji family member JARID2, which enhances B cell apoptosis when overexpressed, and thereby promotes GC B cell survival. Our findings also suggest that there is cooperation between c-MYC and miR-155 during the normal GC response, a cooperation that may explain how c-MYC and miR-155 can collaboratively function as oncogenes.
An effective immune system depends upon regulation of lymphocyte function and homeostasis. In recent years, members of the GTPases of the immunity associated protein (GIMAP) family were proposed to regulate T cell homeostasis. In contrast, little is known about their function and mode of action in B cells. We used a combination of transgenic mice and in vivo and in vitro techniques to conditionally and electively ablate GIMAP1 in resting and activated peripheral B cells. Our data suggest that GIMAP1 is absolutely essential for the survival of peripheral B cells, irrespective of their activation state. Together with recent data showing increased expression of GIMAP1 in B cell lymphomas, our work points to the possible potential of GIMAP1 as a target for manipulation in a variety of B cell-mediated diseases.
Polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTBP1) is a widely expressed RNA binding protein that acts as a regulator of alternative splicing and of cytoplasmic mRNA functions. Vertebrates contain two closely-related paralogs with >75% amino acid sequence identity. Early replacement of PTBP1 by PTBP2 during neuronal differentiation causes a concerted set of splicing changes. By comparison, very little is known about the molecular functions or physiological roles of PTBP3, although its expression and conservation throughout the vertebrates suggest a role in haematopoietic cells. To begin to understand its functions we have characterized the mRNA and protein isoform repertoire of PTBP3. Combinatorial alternative splicing events at the 5' end of the gene allow for the generation of eight mRNA and three major protein isoforms. Individual mRNAs generate up to three protein isoforms via alternative translation initiation by re-initiation and leaky scanning using downstream AUG codons. The N-terminally truncated PTBP3 isoforms lack nuclear localization signals and/or most of the RRM1 domain and vary in their RNA binding properties and nuclear/cytoplasmic distribution, suggesting that PTBP3 may have major post-transcriptional cytoplasmic roles. Our findings set the stage for understanding the non-redundant physiological roles of PTBP3.
Post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA by the RNA-binding protein HuR (encoded by Elavl1) is required in B cells for the germinal center reaction and for the production of class-switched antibodies in response to thymus-independent antigens. Transcriptome-wide examination of RNA isoforms and their abundance and translation in HuR-deficient B cells, together with direct measurements of HuR-RNA interactions, revealed that HuR-dependent splicing of mRNA affected hundreds of transcripts, including that encoding dihydrolipoamide S-succinyltransferase (Dlst), a subunit of the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (α-KGDH) complex. In the absence of HuR, defective mitochondrial metabolism resulted in large amounts of reactive oxygen species and B cell death. Our study shows how post-transcriptional processes control the balance of energy metabolism required for the proliferation and differentiation of B cells.
Post-transcriptional mRNA regulation by RNA binding proteins (RBPs) associated with AU-rich elements (AREs) present in the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) of specific mRNAs modulates transcript stability and translation in eukaryotic cells. Here we have functionally characterised the importance of the AREs present within the Bcl2 3'UTR in order to maintain Bcl2 expression. Gene targeting deletion of 300 nucleotides of the Bcl2 3'UTR rich in AREs diminishes Bcl2 mRNA stability and protein levels in primary B cells, decreasing cell lifespan. Generation of chimeric mice indicates that Bcl2-ARE∆/∆ B cells have an intrinsic competitive disadvantage compared to wild type cells. Biochemical assays and predictions using a bioinformatics approach show that several RBPs bind to the Bcl2 AREs, including AUF1 and HuR proteins. Altogether, association of RBPs to Bcl2 AREs contributes to Bcl2 protein expression by stabilizing Bcl2 mRNA and promotes B cell maintenance.
GTPases of the immunity-associated protein family (GIMAPs) are predominantly expressed in mature lymphocytes. Studies of rodents deficient in GIMAP1, GIMAP4, or GIMAP5 have demonstrated that these GTPases regulate lymphocyte survival. In contrast to the other family members, GIMAP8 contains three potential GTP-binding domains (G-domains), a highly unusual feature suggesting a novel function for this protein. To examine a role for GIMAP8 in lymphocyte biology we examined GIMAP8 expression during lymphocyte development. We also generated a mouse deficient in GIMAP8 and examined lymphocyte development and function.
A single microRNA (miRNA) can regulate the expression of many genes, though the level of repression imparted on any given target is generally low. How then is the selective pressure for a single miRNA/target interaction maintained across long evolutionary distances? We addressed this problem by disrupting in vivo the interaction between miR-155 and PU.1 in mice. Remarkably, this interaction proved to be key to promoting optimal T cell-dependent B cell responses, a previously unrecognized role for PU.1. Mechanistically, miR-155 inhibits PU.1 expression, leading to Pax5 down-regulation and the initiation of the plasma cell differentiation pathway. Additional PU.1 targets include a network of genes whose products are involved in adhesion, with direct links to B-T cell interactions. We conclude that the evolutionary adaptive selection of the miR-155-PU.1 interaction is exercised through the effectiveness of terminal B cell differentiation.
Inhibitors against the p110Î´ isoform of phosphoinositide-3-OH kinase (PI(3)K) have shown remarkable therapeutic efficacy in some human leukaemias. As p110Î´ is primarily expressed in leukocytes, drugs against p110Î´ have not been considered for the treatment of solid tumours. Here we report that p110Î´ inactivation in mice protects against a broad range of cancers, including non-haematological solid tumours. We demonstrate that p110Î´ inactivation in regulatory Tâ€‰cells unleashes CD8(+) cytotoxic Tâ€‰cells and induces tumour regression. Thus, p110Î´ inhibitors can break tumour-induced immune tolerance and should be considered for wider use in oncology.
The rapid changes in gene expression that accompany developmental transitions, stress responses and proliferation are controlled by signal-mediated coordination of transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. In recent years, understanding of the mechanics of these processes and the contexts in which they are employed during hematopoiesis and immune challenge has increased. An important aspect of this progress is recognition of the importance of RNA-binding proteins and noncoding RNAs. These have roles in the development and function of the immune system and in pathogen life cycles, and they represent an important aspect of intracellular immunity.
We found upregulation of expression of the microRNA miR-155 in primary effector and effector memory CD8(+) T cells, but low miR-155 expression in naive and central memory cells. Antiviral CD8(+) T cell responses and viral clearance were impaired in miR-155-deficient mice, and this defect was intrinsic to CD8(+) T cells, as miR-155-deficient CD8(+) T cells mounted greatly diminished primary and memory responses. Conversely, miR-155 overexpression augmented antiviral CD8(+) T cell responses in vivo. Gene-expression profiling showed that miR-155-deficient CD8(+) T cells had enhanced type I interferon signaling and were more susceptible to interferon's antiproliferative effect. Inhibition of the type I interferon-associated transcription factors STAT1 or IRF7 resulted in enhanced responses of miR-155-deficient CD8(+) T cells in vivo. We have thus identified a previously unknown role for miR-155 in regulating responsiveness to interferon and CD8(+) T cell responses to pathogens in vivo.
The development of functional T cells requires receptor-mediated transition through multiple checkpoints in the thymus. Double negative 3 (DN3) thymocytes are selected for the presence of a rearranged TCR beta chain in a process termed Î²-selection which requires signalling via the pre-TCR, Notch1 and CXCL12. Signal integration by these receptors converges on core pathways including the Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 (GSK3) is generally thought to be negatively regulated by the PI3K pathway but its role in Î²-selection has not been characterised. Here we show that developmental progression of DN3 thymocytes is promoted following inhibition of GSK3 by the synthetic compound CHIR99021. CHIR99021 allows differentiation in the absence of pre-TCR-, Notch1- or CXCL12-mediated signalling. It antagonizes IL-7-mediated inhibition of DP thymocyte differentiation and increases IL-7-promoted cell recovery. These data indicate a potentially important role for inactivation of GSK3 during Î²-selection. They might help to establish an in vitro stromal cell-free culture system of thymocyte development and offer a new platform for screening regulators of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis.
Understanding the mechanisms by which signal transduction pathways mediate changes in RNA abundance requires the examination of the fate of RNA from its transcription to its degradation. Evidence suggests that RNA abundance is partly regulated by post-transcriptional mechanisms affecting RNA decay and this in turn is modulated by some of the same signaling pathways that control transcription. Furthermore, the translation of mRNA is a key regulatory step that is influenced by signal transduction. These processes are regulated, in part, by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) which bind to sequence-specific RNA elements. The function of RBPs is controlled and co-ordinated by phosphorylation. Based on the current literature we hypothesize that RBPs may be a point of convergence for the activity of different kinases such as phosphoinositide-3-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase which regulate RBP localization and function.
Compromised development of blood vessel walls leads to vascular instability that may predispose to aneurysm with risk of rupture and lethal hemorrhage. There is currently a lack of insight into developmental insults that may define the molecular and cellular characteristics of initiating and perpetrating factors in adult aneurismal disease.
PTEN, one of the most commonly mutated or lost tumor suppressors in human cancers, antagonizes signaling by the PI3K pathway. Mice with thymocyte-specific deletion of Pten rapidly develop peripheral lymphomas and autoimmunity, which may be caused by failed negative selection of thymocytes or from dysregulation of postthymic T cells. We induced conditional deletion of Pten from CD4 Th cells using a Cre knocked into the Tnfrsf4 (OX40) locus to generate OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice. Pten-deficient Th cells proliferated more and produced greater concentrations of cytokines. The OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice had a general increase in the number of lymphocytes in the lymph nodes, but not in the spleen. When transferred into wild-type (WT) mice, Pten-deficient Th cells enhanced anti-Listeria responses and the clearance of tumors under conditions in which WT T cells had no effect. Moreover, inflammatory responses were exaggerated and resolved later in OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice than in WT mice. However, in contrast with models of thymocyte-specific Pten deletion, lymphomas and autoimmunity were not observed, even in older OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice. Hence loss of Pten enhances Th cell function without obvious deleterious effects.
Sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins (RBP) and the regulation of RNA decay have long been recognized as important regulators of the inflammatory response. RBP influence gene expression throughout the lifespan of the mRNA by regulating splicing, polyadenylation, cellular localization, translation, and decay. Increasing evidence now indicates that these proteins, together with the RNA decay machinery that they recruit, also regulate the development and activation of lymphocytes. The activity of RBP is regulated by the same signal transduction pathways that govern lymphocyte development and differentiation in response to antigen and cytokine receptor engagement. Roles for these proteins in regulating the diverse functions of lymphocytes are becoming increasingly apparent.
Lymphocyte development requires cells to progress through a series of stages, each associated with changes in gene expression. Intense effort has been invested into characterising the dynamic networks of transcription factors underlying these regulated changes. Whilst transcription factors determine the tempo at which mRNA is produced, recent results highlight the importance of the selective regulation of mRNA decay and translation in regulating gene expression. These processes are regulated by sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins (RBP) as well as noncoding RNA such as microRNAs. RNA-binding proteins are emerging as important regulators of cell fate and function in both developing and mature lymphocytes. At the molecular level the function of RNA-binding proteins is integrated with signal transduction pathways that also govern gene transcription.
Thymocytes are tested for productive rearrangement of the tcrb locus by expression of a pre-TCR in a process termed Î²-selection, which requires both Notch1 and CXCR4 signaling. It has been shown that activation of the GTPase Ras allows thymocytes to proliferate and differentiate in the absence of a Pre-TCR; the direct targets of Ras at this checkpoint have not been identified, however. Mice with a mutant allele of p110Î³ unable to bind active Ras revealed that CXCR4-mediated PI3K activation is Ras dependent. The Ras-p110Î³ interaction was necessary for efficient Î²-selection-promoted proliferation but was dispensable for the survival or differentiation of thymocytes. Uncoupling Ras from p110Î³ provides unambiguous identification of a Ras interaction required for thymic Î²-selection.
Dynamic changes in gene expression punctuate lymphocyte development and are a characteristic of lymphocyte activation. A prevailing view has been that these changes are driven by DNA transcription factors, which are the dominant force in gene expression. Accumulating evidence is challenging this DNA centric view and has highlighted the prevalence and dynamic nature of RNA handling mechanisms. Alternative splicing and differential polyadenylation appear to be more widespread than first thought. Changes in mRNA decay rates also affect the abundance of transcripts and this mechanism may contribute significantly to gene expression. Additional RNA handling mechanisms that control the intracellular localization of mRNA and association with translating ribosomes are also important. Thus, gene expression is regulated through the coordination of transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. Developing a more "RNA centric" view of gene expression will allow a more systematic understanding of how gene expression and cell function are integrated.
The immunological synapse (IS) serves a dual role for sustained TÂ cell receptor (TCR) signaling and for TCR downregulation. TC21 (Rras2) is a RRas subfamily GTPase that constitutively associates with the TCR and is implicated in tonic TCR signaling by activating phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. In this study, we demonstrate that TC21 both cotranslocates with the TCR to the IS and is necessary for TCR internalization from the IS through a mechanism dependent on RhoG, a small GTPase previously associated with phagocytosis. Indeed, we found that the TCR triggers TÂ cells to phagocytose 1-6Â Î¼m beads through a TC21- and RhoG-dependent pathway. We further show that TC21 and RhoG are necessary for the TCR-promoted uptake of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) from antigen-presenting cells. Therefore, TC21 and RhoG dependence underlie the existence of a common phagocytic mechanism that drives TCR internalization from the IS together with its peptide-MHC ligand.
Mice lacking either CD19 or p110Î´ have reduced numbers of marginal zone and B1 B cells but normal numbers of naÃ¯ve B2 cells which occupy the follicles of the lymphoid organs. We show here that mice lacking both CD19 and p110Î´ have normal B cell development in the bone marrow but have a significant reduction in the number of naÃ¯ve B2 cells in the bone marrow, spleen and lymph nodes. These p110Î´/CD19 double mutant B cells show a survival defect and reduced responsiveness to the pro-survival cytokine BAFF despite normal NFÎºB2/p100 processing and elevated expression of Bcl-2. Although the combined loss of p110Î´ and CD19 did not increase switching to Ig-lambda in immature B cells, mature B lymphocytes from the lymph nodes of p110Î´/CD19 double mutant mice express highly elevated levels of mRNA encoding RAG-1 and RAG-2, which confirms the existing synergy between CD19 and p110Î´-mediated signaling.
The progressive maturation of T cells is accompanied by their migration through the thymus, with each selection stage occurring in distinct microenvironments. Many specialized receptor-ligand pairs have been defined that drive T cell differentiation, but our understanding of the complex relationship between T cells and the thymic stroma is incomplete. Recent reports have identified a role for the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1Î± and its receptor CXC chemokine receptor 4 in Î²-selection. This review explores these findings in detail.
The generation of high-affinity Abs is essential for immunity and requires collaboration between B and T cells within germinal centers (GCs). By using novel mouse models with a conditional deletion of the p110Î´ catalytic subunit of the PI3K pathway, we established that p110Î´ is required in T cells, but not in B cells, for the GC reaction. We found the formation of T follicular helper (T(FH)) cells to be critically dependent on p110Î´ in T cells. Furthermore, by deleting phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10, which opposes p110Î´ in activated T cells, we found a positive correlation between increased numbers of T(FH) cells and GC B cells. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that T cell help is the limiting factor in the GC reaction. P110Î´ was not required for the expression of B cell lymphoma 6, the downregulation of CCR7, or T cell entry into primary follicles. Instead, p110Î´ was the critical catalytic subunit for ICOS downstream signaling and the production of key T(FH) cytokines and effector molecules. Our findings support a model in which the magnitude of the GC reaction is controlled by the activity of the PI3K pathway in T(FH) cells.
ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 are RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that interact with AU-rich elements in the 3' untranslated region of mRNA, which leads to mRNA degradation and translational repression. Here we show that mice that lacked ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 during thymopoiesis developed a T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) dependent on the oncogenic transcription factor Notch1. Before the onset of T-ALL, thymic development was perturbed, with accumulation of cells that had passed through the beta-selection checkpoint without first expressing the T cell antigen receptor beta-chain (TCRbeta). Notch1 expression was higher in untransformed thymocytes in the absence of ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2. Both RBPs interacted with evolutionarily conserved AU-rich elements in the 3' untranslated region of Notch1 and suppressed its expression. Our data establish a role for ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 during thymocyte development and in the prevention of malignant transformation.
Th cell functional subsets have unique transcriptional programs that form the molecular basis for T cell differentiation and functions. T follicular helper (TFH) cells have emerged as the main providers of T cell help to B cells during the germinal center (GC) reaction, where B cells undergo selection events through competition for Ag and for access to GC T cell-mediated prosurvival and differentiation signals. Because T cell help is one limiting factor for GC B cells, the molecular mechanisms controlling TFH cell abundance and functionality are central to the GC reaction and generation of long-term humoral immunity. Two signaling pathways are absolutely critical for TFH cells: phosphoinositide-3 kinase pathway and the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule-associated protein. In this review, the molecular mechanisms constituting the signaling network in TFH cells will be explored.
MicroRNAs 125a and 125b are predicted to be able to bind to the B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (BLIMP-1) and IFN regulatory protein-4 (IRF-4) transcription factors, which are essential for plasma cell differentiation. A computational survey of the human and mouse genomes revealed that miR-125a and miR-125b are members of a multigene family located in paralogous clusters. The miR-125a cluster on chromosome 19 in humans includes miR-99b and let-7e, whereas the miR-125b cluster on chromosome 21 includes miR-99a and miR-let-7c. Our analysis of the expression profiles for these six miRs during B lineage differentiation indicated that mature miR-125a, miR-125b, miR-99b and let-7e transcripts are preferentially expressed by the actively dividing centroblasts in germinal centers (GC). However, miR-99b and let-7e are not predicted to bind BLIMP-1 or IRF-4 transcripts, and binding to the untranslated region of BLIMP-1 and IRF-4 messenger RNAs could be confirmed only for miR-125b. When the effect of miR-125b over-expression on terminal B cell differentiation was evaluated in an LPS-responsive B cell line, the induction of BLIMP-1 expression and IgM secretion was inhibited in this model system. Furthermore, miR-125b over-expression inhibited the differentiation of primary B cells and compromised the survival of cultured myeloma cells. These findings suggest that miR-125b promotes B lymphocyte diversification in GC by inhibiting premature utilization of essential transcription factors for plasma cell differentiation.
Rac1 and Rac2 GTPases transduce signals from multiple receptors leading to cell migration, adhesion, proliferation, and survival. In the absence of Rac1 and Rac2, B cell development is arrested at an IgD- transitional B cell stage that we term transitional type 0 (T0). We show that T0 cells cannot enter the white pulp of the spleen until they mature into the T1 and T2 stages, and that this entry into the white pulp requires integrin and chemokine receptor signaling and is required for cell survival. In the absence of Rac1 and Rac2, transitional B cells are unable to migrate in response to chemokines and cannot enter the splenic white pulp. We propose that loss of Rac1 and Rac2 causes arrest at the T0 stage at least in part because transitional B cells need to migrate into the white pulp to receive survival signals. Finally, we show that in the absence of Syk, a kinase that transduces B cell antigen receptor signals required for positive selection, development is arrested at the same T0 stage, with transitional B cells excluded from the white pulp. Thus, these studies identify a novel developmental checkpoint that coincides with B cell positive selection.
The guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) of the immunity-associated protein (GIMAP) family of putative GTPases has been implicated in the regulation of T-lymphocyte development and survival. A mouse conditional knockout allele was generated for the immune GTPase gene GIMAP1. Homozygous loss of this allele under the influence of the lymphoid-expressed hCD2-iCre recombinase transgene led to severe (> 85%) deficiency of mature T lymphocytes and, unexpectedly, of mature B lymphocytes. By contrast there was little effect of GIMAP1 deletion on immature lymphocytes in either B or T lineages, although in vitro studies showed a shortening of the survival time of both immature and mature CD4(+) single-positive thymocytes. These findings show a vital requirement for GIMAP1 in mature lymphocyte development/survival and draw attention to the nonredundant roles of members of the GIMAP GTPase family in these processes.
T cell development requires phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling with contributions from both the class IA, p110delta, and class IB, p110gamma catalytic subunits. However, the receptors on immature T cells by which each of these PI3Ks are activated have not been identified, nor has the mechanism behind their functional redundancy in the thymus. Here, we show that PI3K signaling from the preTCR requires p110delta, but not p110gamma. Mice deficient for the class IB regulatory subunit p101 demonstrated the requirement for p101 in T cell development, implicating G protein-coupled receptor signaling in beta-selection. We found evidence of a role for CXCR4 using small molecule antagonists in an in vitro model of beta-selection and demonstrated a requirement for CXCR4 during thymic development in CXCR4-deficient embryos. Finally, we demonstrate that CXCL12, the ligand for CXCR4, allows for Notch-dependent differentiation of DN3 thymocytes in the absence of supporting stromal cells. These findings establish a role for CXCR4-mediated PI3K signaling that, together with signals from Notch and the preTCR, contributes to continued T cell development beyond beta-selection.
We describe a method for identification of protein-protein interactions by combining two cell-free protein technologies, namely ribosome display and protein in situ immobilisation. The method requires only PCR fragments as the starting material, the target proteins being made through cell-free protein synthesis, either associated with their encoding mRNA as ribosome complexes or immobilised on a solid surface. The use of ribosome complexes allows identification of interacting protein partners from their attached coding mRNA. To demonstrate the procedures, we have employed the lymphocyte signalling proteins Vav1 and Grb2 and confirmed the interaction between Grb2 and the N-terminal SH3 domain of Vav1. The method has promise for library screening of pairwise protein interactions, down to the analytical level of individual domain or motif mapping.
The Vav family of proteins have the potential to act as both signalling adapters and GEFs for Rho GTPases. They have therefore been proposed as regulators of the cytoskeleton in various cell types. We have used macrophages from mice deficient in all three Vav isoforms to determine how their function affects cell morphology and migration. Macrophages lacking Vav proteins adopt an elongated morphology and have enhanced migratory persistence in culture. To investigate the pathways through which Vav proteins exert their effects we analysed the responses of macrophages to the chemoattractant CSF-1 and to adhesion. We found that morphological and signalling responses of macrophages to CSF-1 did not require Vav proteins. In contrast, adhesion-induced cell spreading, RhoA and Rac1 activation and cell signalling were all dependent on Vav proteins. We propose that Vav proteins affect macrophage morphology and motile behaviour by coupling adhesion receptors to Rac1 and RhoA activity and regulating adhesion signalling events such as paxillin and ERK1/2 phosphorylation by acting as adapters.
Foxp3 is a transcription factor that is essential for the normal development of regulatory T cells (Tregs). In the absence of microRNAs (miRNAs), Foxp3(+) Tregs develop but fail to maintain immune homeostasis, leading to a scurfy-like disease. Global analysis of the network of genes regulated by Foxp3 has identified the miRNA miR-155, which is highly expressed in Tregs, as a direct target of Foxp3. In this study we report that miR-155-deficient mice have reduced numbers of Tregs, both in the thymus and periphery, due to impaired development. However, we found no evidence for defective suppressor activity of miR-155-deficient Tregs, either in vitro or in vivo. Our results indicate that miR-155 contributes to Treg development, but that additional miRNAs control Treg function.
The Rac1 and Rac2 GTPases play important roles in many processes including cytoskeletal reorganization, proliferation, and survival, and are required for B-cell development. Previous studies had shown that deficiency in Rac2 did not affect T-cell development, whereas the function of Rac1 in this process has not been investigated. We now show that simultaneous absence of both GTPases resulted in a very strong developmental block at the pre-TCR checkpoint and in defective positive selection. Unexpectedly, deficiency of Rac1 and Rac2 also resulted in the aberrant survival of thymocytes lacking expression of TCR beta, showing hallmarks of hyperactive Notch signaling. Furthermore, we found a similar novel phenotype in the absence of Vav1, Vav2, and Vav3, which function as guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Rac1 and Rac2. These results show that a pathway containing Vav and Rac proteins may negatively regulate Notch signaling during early thymic development.
Post-transcriptional control of gene expression is an important mechanism for maintaining cellular homoeostasis and regulating the immune response to infection. It allows control of mRNA abundance, translation and localization. Mechanisms for post-transcriptional control involve RNA-binding proteins and miRNAs (microRNAs). The TTP(tristetraprolin) family of proteins recognize and bind AU-rich elements. Deletion of TTP led to a systemic autoimmune syndrome with excess circulating TNFalpha (tumour necrosis factor alpha) and GM-CSF (granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor) due to aberrantly stabilized mRNA. The family may also have a role in control of lymphocyte development and function. miRNAs regulate gene expression by promoting decay or inhibiting translation of transcripts with base pair complementarity. The importance of miRNAs in lymphocytes is highlighted by the T-cell-specific deletion of Dicer, an enzyme required for miRNA-mediated processing and from the phenotype of bic (B-cell integration cluster)/miR-155 (miRNA 155)-deficient mice.
B-cell activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF) is critical for the survival and maturation of B cells. The molecular mechanisms by which BAFF regulates the survival of developing B cells are becoming better understood. Recent evidence has begun to emerge demonstrating a role for the PI3K/Akt signalling pathway in response to BAFF. However, the importance of the PI3K family for BAFF-signalling and the effects of loss of PI3K function on BAFF responses are still unknown. We therefore investigated the BAFF-mediated responses of B cells deficient for the PI3K catalytic subunit P110delta. We find that the loss of P110delta impairs the BAFF-mediated survival of cultured B cells demonstrating a direct role for this member of the PI3K family in regulating the survival of B cells in response to BAFF. P110delta was required for the growth of B cells in response to BAFF and was critical for the upregulation of the receptor for BAFF following BCR crosslinking. Our findings reveal an important role for p110delta in regulating B-cell responses to BAFF.
Inflammatory activation of monocytes is an essential part of both innate immune responses and the pathogenesis of conditions such as atherosclerosis. However, the mechanisms which modulate the response of monocytes to inflammatory stimuli are still poorly understood. Here, we report that tribbles-2 (trb-2) is a novel regulator of inflammatory activation of monocytes. Down-regulation of trb-2 levels potentiates LPS-induced IL-8 production via enhanced activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase and jun kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. In keeping with this, the endogenous level of trb-2 expression in human primary monocytes is inversely correlated to the cell's ability to produce IL-8. We show that trb-2 is a binding partner and a negative regulator of selected MAPKs. The potential in vivo relevance of these findings is highlighted by the observation that modified low-density lipoprotein profoundly down-regulates trb-2 expression, which may, in turn, significantly contribute to the inflammatory processes in the development of vascular disease. Taken together, our results define trb-2 as a potent novel regulator of monocyte biology, controlling the activation of these cells.
miRs (microRNAs) post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression mainly by repressing translation or by inducing mRNA degradation. Dicer, an enzyme responsible for miR biogenesis, is required for T-cell function, suggesting regulatory roles for miRs in lymphocytes. However, specific roles for individual miRs are only just beginning to emerge. miR-155 is encoded within an exon of the non-coding RNA known as bic (B-cell integration cluster) and high levels of bic expression are induced upon antigen receptor stimulation of B- and T-cells, as well as TLR (Toll-like receptor) stimulation of macrophages and dendritic cells. High levels of bic/miR-155 are found in B-cell lymphomas and solid tumours, indicating that this locus may also be linked to cancer. Indeed, transgenic mice overexpressing miR-155 develop B-cell malignancies. To define the in vivo role of bic/miR-155 (bic), we have studied bic-deficient mice. These mice are immunodeficient and fail to generate high levels of class-switched antibody upon immunization with thymus-dependent and thymus-independent antigens. This defect is intrinsic to B-cells and manifested at the level of differentiation of switched plasmablasts into mature antibody secreting plasma cells. In addition, bic-deficient T-cells show skewed differentiation into the Th2 lineage under a variety of in vitro culture conditions. Microarray analysis of bic-deficient B- and T-cells under different conditions has revealed a wide spectrum of targets regulated by an miR-155 and suggested mechanisms for the regulation of lymphocyte differentiation by a single miR.
The integrin leukocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) is important in the promotion of B cell adhesion, thereby facilitating immunological synapse (IS) formation and B cell activation. Despite this significance, the associated signaling mechanisms regulating LFA-1 activation remain elusive. Here, we show that both isoforms of the small GTPase Rac expressed by primary B cells, Rac1 and Rac2, were activated rapidly downstream of Src-family kinases, guanine-nucleotide exchange factors Vav1 and Vav2, and phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) after BCR engagement. We identify Rac2, but not Rac1, as critical for B cell adhesion to intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and IS formation. Furthermore, B cells expressing constitutively active Rac2 are highly adhesive. We observe that Rac2-deficient B cells exhibit lower amounts of Rap1-GTP and severe actin polymerization defects, identifying a potential mechanism underlying their behavior. We postulate that this critical role for Rac2 in mediating B cell adhesion and IS formation might apply in all lymphocytes.
Control of the intracellular levels of phosphatidylinositol-(3, 4, 5)-trisphosphate by PI3K and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is essential for B cell development and differentiation. Deletion of the PI3K catalytic subunit p110delta leads to a severe reduction in B1 and marginal zone (MZ) B cells, whereas deletion of PTEN results in their expansion. We have examined the relationship between these two molecules by generating mice with a B cell-specific deletion of PTEN (PTENB) and a concurrent germline deletion of p110delta. The expanded B1 cell population of PTENB mice was reduced to normal levels in PTENB/p110delta mutant mice, indicating a critical role for the p110delta isoform in the expansion of B1 cells. However, numbers of MZ B cells in the PTENB/p110delta mutants was intermediate between wild-type and PTENB-deficient mice, suggesting an additional role for other PI3K catalytic isoforms in MZ differentiation. Furthermore, the defective class switch recombination in PTENB B cells was only partially reversed in PTENB/p110delta double mutant B cells. These results demonstrate an epistatic relationship between p110delta and PTEN. In addition, they also suggest that additional PI3K catalytic subunits contribute to B cell development and function.
microRNA-155 (miR-155) is expressed by cells of the immune system after activation and has been shown to be required for antibody production after vaccination with attenuated Salmonella. Here we show the intrinsic requirement for miR-155 in B cell responses to thymus-dependent and -independent antigens. B cells lacking miR-155 generated reduced extrafollicular and germinal center responses and failed to produce high-affinity IgG1 antibodies. Gene-expression profiling of activated B cells indicated that miR-155 regulates an array of genes with diverse function, many of which are predicted targets of miR-155. The transcription factor Pu.1 is validated as a direct target of miR155-mediated inhibition. When Pu.1 is overexpressed in wild-type B cells, fewer IgG1 cells are produced, indicating that loss of Pu.1 regulation is a contributing factor to the miR-155-deficient phenotype. Our results implicate post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression for establishing the terminal differentiation program of B cells.
The signal transduction pathways that lead activated natural killer (NK) cells to produce cytokines, releases cytotoxic granules, or do both, are not clearly dissected. For example, phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are key players in the execution of both functions, but the relative contribution of each isoform is unknown. We show here that the catalytic isoform p110delta, not p110gamma, was required for interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) secretion, whereas neither was necessary for cytotoxicity. Yet, when both p110delta and p110gamma isoforms were inactivated by a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches, cytotoxicity was decreased. NK-cell numbers were also affected by the lack of p110delta but not p110gamma and more severely so in mice lacking both subunits. These results provide genetic evidence that p110delta is the dominant PI3K isoform for cytokine secretion by NK cells and suggest that PI3Ks cooperate during NK-cell development and cytotoxicity.
MicroRNAs are a class of small RNAs that are increasingly being recognized as important regulators of gene expression. Although hundreds of microRNAs are present in the mammalian genome, genetic studies addressing their physiological roles are at an early stage. We have shown that mice deficient for bic/microRNA-155 are immunodeficient and display increased lung airway remodeling. We demonstrate a requirement of bic/microRNA-155 for the function of B and T lymphocytes and dendritic cells. Transcriptome analysis of bic/microRNA-155-deficient CD4+ T cells identified a wide spectrum of microRNA-155-regulated genes, including cytokines, chemokines, and transcription factors. Our work suggests that bic/microRNA-155 plays a key role in the homeostasis and function of the immune system.
3BP2 is a pleckstrin homology domain- and Src homology 2 (SH2) domain-containing adapter protein that is mutated in the rare human bone disorder cherubism and which has also been implicated in immunoreceptor signaling. However, a function for this protein has yet to be established. Here we show that mice lacking 3BP2 exhibited a perturbation in the peritoneal B1 and splenic marginal-zone B-cell compartments and diminished thymus-independent type 2 antigen response. 3BP2(-/-) B cells demonstrated a proliferation defect in response to antigen receptor cross-linking and a heightened sensitivity to B-cell receptor-induced death via a caspase-3-dependent apoptotic pathway. We show that 3BP2 binds via its SH2 domain to the CD19 signaling complex and is required for optimum Syk phosphorylation and calcium flux.
At the immature B cell stage the BCR signals the down-regulation of the RAG genes and Ig L chain (LC) allelic and isotype exclusion. The signaling pathway that regulates these events is poorly characterized. We demonstrate that immature B cells from mice deficient in the PI3K catalytic subunit p110delta fail to suppress RAG expression and inappropriately recombine kappa and lambda LC loci. In addition, in the presence of the autoantigen, clonal deletion and receptor editing still takes place, demonstrating that these processes are independent of p110delta. These results demonstrate a role for p110delta in the regulation of RAG gene expression and thereby LC allelic/isotype exclusion.
Vav proteins belong to the family of guanine-nucleotide-exchange factors for the Rho/Rac family of small G-proteins. In addition, they serve as important adapter proteins for the activation of PLCgamma (phospholipase Cgamma) isoforms by ITAM (immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif) receptors, including the platelet collagen receptor GPVI (glycoprotein VI). Vav proteins are also regulated downstream of integrins, including the major platelet integrin alphaIIbbeta3, which has recently been shown to regulate PLCgamma2. In the present study, we have investigated the role of Vav family proteins in filopodia and lamellipodia formation on fibrinogen using platelets deficient in Vav1 and Vav3. Wild-type mouse platelets undergo a limited degree of spreading on fibrinogen, characterized by the formation of numerous filopodia and limited lamellipodia structures. Platelets deficient in Vav1 and Vav3 exhibit reduced filopodia and lamellipodia formation during spreading on fibrinogen. This is accompanied by reduced alphaIIbbeta3-mediated PLCgamma2 tyrosine phosphorylation and reduced Ca(2+) mobilization. In contrast, the G-protein agonist thrombin stimulates full spreading of control and Vav1/3-deficient platelets. Consistent with this, stimulation of F-actin (filamentous actin) formation and Rac activation by thrombin is not altered in Vav-deficient cells. These results demonstrate that Vav1 and Vav3 are required for optimal spreading and regulation of PLCgamma2 by integrin alphaIIbbeta3, but that their requirement is by-passed upon G-protein receptor activation.
Through their ability to regulate production of the key lipid messenger PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3), the class I phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinases (PI(3)Ks) support many critical cell responses. They, in turn, can be regulated by cell-surface receptors through signals acting on either their adaptor subunits (for example, through phosphotyrosine or Gbetagammas) or their catalytic subunits (for example, through GTP-Ras). The relative significance of these controlling inputs is undefined in vivo. Here, we have studied the roles of Gbetagammas, the adaptor p101, Ras and the Ras binding domain (RBD) in the control of the class I PI(3)K, PI(3)Kgamma, in mouse neutrophils. Loss of p101 leads to major reductions in the accumulation of PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3), activation of protein kinase B (PKB) and in migration towards G-protein activating ligands in vitro, and to an aseptically inflamed peritoneum in vivo. Loss of sensitivity of PI(3)Kgamma to Ras unexpectedly caused similar reductions, but additionally caused a substantial loss in production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We conclude that Gbetagammas, p101 and the Ras-RBD interaction all have important roles in the regulation of PI(3)Kgamma in vivo and that they can simultaneously, but differentially, control distinct PI(3)Kgamma effectors.
The Zfp36l1 gene encodes a zinc finger-containing mRNA binding protein implicated in the posttranscriptional control of gene expression. Mouse embryos homozygous for a targeted mutation in the Zfp36l1 locus died mid-gestation and exhibited extraembryonic and intraembryonic vascular abnormalities and heart defects. In the developing placenta, there was a failure of the extraembryonic mesoderm to invaginate the trophoblast layer. The phenotype was associated with an elevated expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A in the embryos and in embryonic fibroblasts cultured under conditions of both normoxia and hypoxia. VEGF-A overproduction by embryonic fibroblasts was not a consequence of changes in Vegf-a mRNA stability; instead, we observed enhanced association with polyribosomes, suggesting Zfp36l1 influences translational regulation. These data implicate Zfp36l1as a negative regulator of Vegf-a gene activity during development.
Developmental studies support a common origin for blood and endothelial cells, while studies of adult angiogenic responses suggest that the hematopoietic system can be a source of endothelial cells later in life. Whether hematopoietic tissue is a source of endothelial cells during normal vascular development is unknown. Mouse embryos lacking the signaling proteins Syk and Slp-76 develop abnormal blood-lymphatic endothelial connections. Here we demonstrate that expression of GFPSlp-76 in a subset of hematopoietic cells rescues this phenotype, and that deficient cells confer focal vascular phenotypes in chimeric embryos consistent with a cell-autonomous mechanism. Endogenous Syk and Slp-76, as well as transgenic GFPSlp-76, are expressed in circulating cells previously proposed to be endothelial precursors, supporting a causal role for these cells. These studies provide genetic evidence for hematopoietic contribution to vascular development and suggest that hematopoietic tissue can provide a source of vascular endothelial progenitor cells throughout life.
RhoG is a Rho family small GTPase implicated in cytoskeletal regulation, acting either upstream of or in parallel to Rac1. The precise function(s) of RhoG in vivo has not yet been defined. We have identified a novel role for RhoG in signaling the neutrophil respiratory burst stimulated by G protein-coupled receptor agonists. Bone marrow-derived neutrophils from RhoG knockout (RhoG(-/-)) mice exhibited a marked impairment of oxidant generation in response to C5a or fMLP, but normal responses to PMA or opsonized zymosan and normal bacterial killing. Activation of Rac1 and Rac2 by fMLP was diminished in RhoG(-/-) neutrophils only at very early (5 s) time points (by 25 and 32%, respectively), whereas chemotaxis in response to soluble agonists was unaffected by lack of RhoG. Additionally, fMLP-stimulated phosphorylation of protein kinase B and p38MAPK, activation of phospholipase D, and calcium fluxes were equivalent in wild-type and RhoG(-/-) neutrophils. Our results define RhoG as a critical component of G protein-coupled receptor-stimulated signaling cascades in murine neutrophils, acting either via a subset of total cellular Rac relevant to oxidase activation and/or by a novel and as yet undefined interaction with the neutrophil NADPH oxidase.
Notch plays a wide-ranging role in controlling cell fate, differentiation and development. The PI3K-Akt pathway is a similarly conserved signalling pathway which regulates processes such as differentiation, proliferation and survival. Mice with disrupted Notch and PI3K signalling show phenotypic similarities during haematopoietic cell development, suggesting functional interaction between these pathways.
Genomic imprinting results in allele-specific silencing according to parental origin. Silencing is brought about by imprinting control regions (ICRs) that are differentially marked in gametogenesis. The group of imprinted transcripts in the mouse Gnas cluster (Nesp, Nespas, Gnasxl, Exon 1A and Gnas) provides a model for analyzing the mechanisms of imprint regulation. We previously identified an ICR that specifically regulates the tissue-specific imprinted expression of the Gnas gene. Here we identify a second ICR at the Gnas cluster. We show that a paternally derived targeted deletion of the germline differentially methylated region (DMR) associated with the antisense Nespas transcript unexpectedly affects both the expression of all transcripts in the cluster and methylation of two DMRs. Our results establish that the Nespas DMR is the principal ICR at the Gnas cluster and functions bidirectionally as a switch for modulating expression of the antagonistically acting genes Gnasxl and Gnas. Uniquely, the Nespas DMR acts on the downstream ICR at exon 1A to regulate tissue-specific imprinting of the Gnas gene.
Antigens coated with complement fragments coligate the B cell receptor (BCR) with the CD21/CD19 complex which results in synergistic activation of B cells. Previous studies identified PI3K, Vav proteins and PLCgamma as important components of this synergy. We now show that protein kinase D (also known as PKCmu) is also a point of convergence of these signalling pathways. We found that PKD activation upon BCR engagement or coligation of the BCR with CD19 is entirely dependent on PI3K and PLCgamma but differ in the requirement for Vav proteins. Whereas PKD activation is Vav1 and Vav2 dependent in response to BCR cross-linking, PKD activation is sensitive to the lack of Vav1 under synergistic stimulation of BCR and CD19. These findings show that Vav proteins and PI3K regulation of PLCgamma contributes to the activation of PKD in response to BCR and or CD19 cross-linking.
Phospholipase C-gamma2 (PLC-gamma2) is a key component of signal transduction in leukocytes. In natural killer (NK) cells, PLC-gamma2 is pivotal for cellular cytotoxicity; however, it is not known which steps of the cytolytic machinery it regulates. We found that PLC-gamma2-deficient NK cells formed conjugates with target cells and polarized the microtubule-organizing center, but failed to secrete cytotoxic granules, due to defective calcium mobilization. Consequently, cytotoxicity was completely abrogated in PLC-gamma2-deficient cells, regardless of whether targets expressed NKG2D ligands, missed self major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, or whether NK cells were stimulated with IL-2 and antibodies specific for NKR-P1C, CD16, CD244, Ly49D, and Ly49H. Defective secretion was specific to cytotoxic granules because release of IFN-gamma on stimulation with IL-12 was normal. Plcg2-/- mice could not reject MHC class I-deficient lymphoma cells nor could they control CMV infection, but they effectively contained Listeria monocytogenes infection. Our results suggest that exocytosis of cytotoxic granules, but not cellular polarization toward targets, depends on intracellular calcium rise during NK cell cytotoxicity. In vivo, PLC-gamma2 regulates selective facets of innate immunity because it is essential for NK cell responses to malignant and virally infected cells but not to bacterial infections.
Vav family proteins act as guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Rho family proteins, which are known to orchestrate cytoskeletal changes and cell migration in response to extracellular stimuli. Using mice deficient for Vav1, Vav2 and/or Vav3, overlapping and isoform-specific functions of the three Vav proteins have been described in various hematopoietic cell types, but their roles in regulating cell morphology and migration have not been studied in detail. To investigate whether Vav isoforms have redundant or unique functions in regulating adhesion and migration, we investigated the properties of Vav1-deficient and Vav2-deficient macrophages. Both Vav1-deficient and Vav2-deficient cells have a smaller adhesive area; yet, only Vav1-deficient cells have a reduced migration speed, which coincides with a lower level of microtubules. Vav2-deficient macrophages display a high level of constitutive membrane ruffling, but neither Vav1 nor Vav2 is required for colony stimulating factor-1-induced membrane ruffling and cell spreading. Our results suggest that the migration speed of macrophages is regulated independently of spread area or membrane ruffling and that Vav1 is selectively required to maintain a normal migration speed.
Induction of cyclin D2 is essential for mediating cell cycle entry in B cells activated by BCR cross-linking. In the present study we show that, like B lymphocytes lacking cyclin D2, the p85alpha subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) or other components of the B cell signalosome, p110delta-null B cells fail to induce cyclin D2 and enter early G1 but not S phase of the cell cycle. The inhibitors of PI3K activity, LY294002 and Wortmannin, also abrogate cyclin D2 induction by BCR cross-linking, confirming that the class IA PI3K is necessary for cyclin D2 induction in response to BCR stimulation. Furthermore, using both p85alpha-null and p110delta-null B cells and inhibitors of PI3K, this study demonstrates for the first time, that BCR cross-linking induces cyclin D2 mRNA expression via transcriptional activation of the cyclin D2 promoter and that this transcriptional activation of cyclin D2 requires PI3K activity. Moreover, we identify a region between nucleotides -1624 and -1303 of the cyclin D2 promoter containing elements responsive to anti-IgM, which are PI3K dependent. Further characterisation of signalling intermediates downstream of the BCR revealed a perturbation of MAPK signalling pathways in p85alpha-null and p110delta-null B cells, and our data suggests that cross-talk exists between the PI3K and JNK pathways.
We have investigated the function of the p110delta catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) in platelets using p110delta knock-out (p110delta(-/-)) mice and p110delta knock-in (p110delta(D910A/D910A)) mice, which express a catalytically inactive form of the enzyme. Aggregation to threshold concentrations of the GPVI-specific agonist, CRP, was partially reduced in p110delta(-/-) and p110delta(D910A/D910A) platelets. This inhibition was overcome by higher concentrations of CRP. The degree of inhibition was considerably weaker than that induced by LY294002 and wortmannin, which inhibit all isoforms of PI 3-kinase. p110delta(-/-) platelets showed decreased spreading on fibrinogen- or von Willebrand factor (VWF)-coated surfaces under static conditions, whereas they spread normally on collagen. LY294002 had a more pronounced inhibitory effect on spreading on all three surfaces. Adhesion and aggregate formation of p110delta(-/-) platelets to collagen or fibrinogen/VWF at intermediate/high rates of shear were normal. This study demonstrates a minor role for the p110delta catalytic subunit in mediating platelet activation by the collagen receptor GPVI and integrin alphaIIbeta3. The more pronounced inhibitory effect of LY294002 and wortmannin indicates that other isoforms of PI 3-kinase play a more significant role in signalling by the two platelet glycoprotein receptors.
Mice lacking all 3 Vav proteins fail to produce significant numbers of recirculating follicular or marginal zone B cells. Those B cells that do mature have shortened lifespans. The constitutive nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activity of resting naive B cells required Vav function and expression of cellular reticuloendotheliosis (c-Rel). Rel-A was reduced in Vav-deficient B cells. Furthermore, expression of the NF-kappaB-regulated antiapoptotic genes A1 and Bcl-2 was reduced in mature Vav-deficient B cells. Overexpression of Bcl-2 restored the number of mature follicular B cells in the spleens of Vav-deficient mice. When activated by B-cell receptor (BCR) cross-linking, Vav-deficient B cells failed to activate NF-kappaB. Vav proteins thus regulate an NF-kappaB-dependent survival signal in naive B cells and are required for NF-kappaB function after BCR cross-linking.
It is well established that preexposure of human neutrophils to proinflammatory cytokines markedly augments the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) to subsequent stimuli. This priming event is thought to be critical for localizing ROS to the vicinity of the inflammation, maximizing their role in the resolution of the inflammation, and minimizing the damage to surrounding tissue. We have used a new generation of isoform-selective phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors to show that ROS production under these circumstances is regulated by temporal control of class I PI3K activity. Stimulation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-primed human neutrophils with N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP) results in biphasic activation of PI3K; the first phase is largely dependent on PI3Kgamma, and the second phase is largely dependent on PI3Kdelta. The second phase of PI3K activation requires the first phase; it is this second phase that is augmented by TNF-alpha priming and that regulates parallel activation of ROS production. Surprisingly, although TNF-alpha-primed mouse bone marrow-derived neutrophils exhibit superficially similar patterns of PI3K activation and ROS production in response to fMLP, these responses are substantially lower and largely dependent on PI3Kgamma alone. These results start to define which PI3K isoforms are responsible for modulating neutrophil responsiveness to infection and inflammation.
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase gamma (PI3Kgamma) in neutrophils plays a critical role in the directed migration of these cells into inflamed tissues. In this study, we demonstrate the importance of the endothelial component of PI3Kgamma activity relative to its leukocyte counterpart in supporting neutrophil interactions with the inflamed vessel wall. Despite the reconstitution of class-Ib PI3K function in neutrophils of p110gamma-/- mice, we observed a 45% reduction in accumulation of these cells in an acute lung injury model. Mechanistically, this appears to result from a perturbation in selectin-mediated adhesion as manifested by a 70% reduction in wild-type (WT) neutrophil attachment to and 17-fold increase in rolling velocities on p110gamma-/- microvessels in vivo in response to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha). This alteration in adhesion was further augmented by a deficiency in p110delta, suggesting that the activity of both catalytic subunits is required for efficient capture of neutrophils by cytokine-stimulated endothelium. Interestingly, E-selectin-mediated adhesion in p110gamma-/-) mice was impaired by more than 95%, but no defect in nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB)-induced gene expression was observed. These findings suggest a previously unrecognized partnership between class-I PI3Ks expressed in leukocytes and endothelium, the combination of which is required for the efficient trafficking of immunocompetent cells to sites of inflammation.
Vav family proteins are guanine nucleotide exchange factors for the Rho/Rac family of small GTP-binding proteins. In addition, they have domains that mediate protein-protein interactions, including one Src homology 2 (SH2) and two Src homology 3 (SH3) domains. Vav1, Vav2, and Vav3 play a crucial role in the regulation of phospholipase C gamma (PLC gamma) isoforms by immuno-tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-coupled receptors, including the T- and B-cell antigen receptors. We have reported in platelets, however, that Vav1 and Vav2 are not required for activation of PLC gamma 2 in response to stimulation of the ITAM-coupled collagen receptor glycoprotein VI (GPVI). Here we report that Vav3 is tyrosinephosphorylated upon activation of GPVI but that Vav3-deficient platelets also exhibit a normal response upon activation of the ITAM receptor. In sharp contrast, platelets deficient in both Vav1 and Vav3 show a marked inhibition of aggregation and spreading upon activation of GPVI, which is associated with a reduction in tyrosine phosphorylation of PLC gamma 2. The phenotype of Vav1/2/3 triple-deficient platelets is similar to that of Vav1/3 double-deficient cells. These results demonstrate that Vav3 and Vav1 play crucial but redundant roles in the activation of PLC gamma 2 by GPVI. This is the first time that absolute redundancy between two protein isoforms has been observed with respect to the regulation of PLC gamma 2 in platelets.
We show in this study that B cell activation following high avidity ligation of IgM or coligation of membrane Ig with CD19 elicits similar levels of Ca(2+) flux using different mechanisms. Each form of activation requires the function of Vav and PI3K. However, Vav regulates Ca(2+) flux independently of PI3K following anti-IgM cross-linking. By contrast, Vav function is essential for PI3K activation following membrane Ig (mIg)/CD19 coligation. Inhibition of PI3K revealed anti-IgM-stimulated Ca(2+) flux has a PI3K-independent component, while Ca(2+) flux following mIg/CD19 coligation is totally PI3K dependent. The p85alpha and p110delta subunits of PI3K both participate in anti-IgM and mIg/CD19 coligation-induced Ca(2+) flux, although the defects are not as severe as observed after pharmacological inhibition. This may reflect the recruitment of additional PI3K subunits, as we found that p110alpha becomes associated with CD19 upon B cell activation. These data show that the nature of the Ag encountered by B cells determines the contribution of Vav proteins to PI3K activation. Our results indicate that the strong signals delivered by multivalent cross-linking agents activate B cells in a qualitatively different manner from those triggered by coreceptor recruitment.
B cells from phospholipase C (PLC)gamma2-deficient mice express reduced levels of the pro-survival protein Bcl-2 and show a defect in the development of transitional T3 and marginal zone (MZ) B cells that reflects reduced B cell survival. Introduction of a bcl-2 transgene restored the numbers of MZ, T3 and follicular B cells in PLCgamma2(-/-) mice. Restricting the B cell repertoire in PLCgamma2-deficient mice by the introduction of a BCR transgene resulted in a striking reduction in the number of IgM-positive B cells and a paucity of IgD-expressing cells in the spleen which was also rescued by the bcl-2 transgene. BCR-stimulated ERK and IkappaBalpha phosphorylation were PLCgamma2 dependent, while calcium flux was reduced, but not abrogated, in the absence of PLCgamma2, suggesting an ancillary role for PLCgamma1. The bcl-2 transgene rescued development of PLCgamma2(-/-) B cells and serum IgM levels but did not restore BCR-mediated signaling, proliferation or serum IgG3 levels. These data suggest that PLCgamma2 performs a critical role in B cell development through regulation of survival rather than differentiation.
In this study we set out to test whether Syk was required for negative selection of immature B cells. B cells expressing a B cell antigen receptor (BCR) transgene (3-83, anti-H-2K(k)) underwent negative selection independently of Syk in both fetal liver organ culture and radiation chimera models. Furthermore, Syk-independent negative selection was not reversed by transgenic overexpression of Bcl-2. Receptor editing was not apparent in Syk-deficient B cells, presumably as a consequence of the failure of mature edited B cells to develop in the absence of Syk. Interestingly, light chain isotype exclusion by the BCR transgene failed in the absence of Syk. We observed a dramatic reduction in the overall BCR-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of cellular proteins in Syk-deficient immature B cells. However, the tyrosine phosphorylation of a number of substrates including phospholipase C gamma 2, although reduced, was not completely abrogated. BCR ligation triggered an increase in calcium flux in the absence of Syk. Thus signaling events that mediate negative selection can still occur in the absence of Syk. This may be due to redundancy with zeta-associated protein 70 (ZAP-70), which we demonstrate to be expressed in immature B cells.
Although all three Vav family members are expressed in T lymphocytes, the role that Vav3 plays in T cell activation is poorly defined. Here we show that, like Vav1, Vav3 undergoes rapid tyrosine phosphorylation after T cell receptor (TCR) cross-linkage and interacts with the adaptor molecules SLP76 and 3BP2 in a SH2-dependent manner. However, depletion of Vav1 but not Vav3 protein by RNA interference affects TCR-mediated IL-2 promoter activity. In contrast, Vav3 function is specifically required for coupling TCR stimulation to serum response element-mediated gene transcription. These data indicate that, although both Vav proteins are biochemically coupled to the TCR, they regulate distinct molecular pathways leading to defined gene transcriptional events.
The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) catalytic subunit p110 delta is expressed in neutrophils and is thought to play a role in their accumulation at sites of inflammation by contributing to chemoattractant-directed migration. We report here that p110 delta is present in endothelial cells and participates in neutrophil trafficking by modulating the proadhesive state of these cells in response to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha). Specifically, administration of the selective inhibitor of PI3K delta, IC87114, to animals reduced neutrophil tethering to and increased rolling velocities on cytokine-activated microvessels in a manner similar to that observed in mice deficient in p110 delta. These results were confirmed in vitro as inhibition of this isoform in endothelium, but not neutrophils, diminished cell attachment in flow. A role for PI3K delta in TNF alpha-induced signaling is demonstrated by a reduction in Akt-phosphorylation and phosphatidylinositol-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) enzyme activity upon treatment of this cell type with IC87114. p110 delta expressed in neutrophils also contributes to trafficking as demonstrated by the impaired movement of these cells across inflamed venules in animals in which this catalytic subunit was blocked or genetically deleted, results corroborated in transwell migration assays. Thus, PI3K delta may be a reasonable therapeutic target in specific inflammatory conditions as blockade of its activity reduces neutrophil influx into tissues by diminishing their attachment to and migration across vascular endothelium.
RhoG is a low-molecular-weight GTPase highly expressed in lymphocytes that activates gene transcription and promotes cytoskeletal reorganization in vitro. To study the in vivo function of RhoG, we generated mice homozygous for a targeted disruption of the RhoG gene. Despite the absence of RhoG, the development of B and T lymphocytes was unaffected. However, there was an increase in the level of serum immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgG2b as well as a mild increase of the humoral immune response to thymus-dependent antigens. In addition, B- and T-cell proliferation in response to antigen receptor cross-linking was slightly increased. Although RhoG deficiency produces a mild phenotype, our experiments suggest that RhoG may contribute to the negative regulation of immune responses. The lack of a strong phenotype could indicate a functional redundancy of RhoG with other Rac proteins in lymphocytes.
Despite the importance of the Vav family proteins for B cell receptor (BCR) signaling, their activation mechanisms remain poorly understood. We demonstrate here that adaptor molecules Grb2 and BLNK, in addition to Vav, are required for efficient Rac1 activation in response to BCR stimulation. Loss of either Grb2 or BLNK results in decreased translocation of Vav3 to membrane rafts. By expression of Vav3 as a raft-targeted construct, the defective Rac1 activation in Grb2- or BLNK-deficient B cells is restored. Hence, our findings suggest that Grb2 and BLNK cooperate to localize Vav into membrane rafts, thereby contributing to optimal activation of Vav in B cells.
RhoG, a member of the Rho family of GTPases, has been implicated as a regulator of the actin cytoskeleton. In this study, we show a novel function for the small GTPase RhoG on the regulation of the interferon-gamma promoter and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) gene transcription in lymphocytes. Optimal function of RhoG for the expression of these genes requires a calcium signal, normally provided by the antigen receptor. In addition, RhoG potentiation of NFAT requires the indirect activity of Rac and Cdc42; however, pathways distinct from those activated by Rac and Cdc42 mediate RhoG activation of NFAT-dependent transcription. Using effector domain mutants of RhoG we found that its ability to potentiate NFAT-dependent transcription correlates with its capacity to increase actin polymerization, supporting the suggestion that NFAT-dependent transcription is an actin-dependent process. RhoG also promotes T-cell spreading on fibronectin, a property that is independent of its ability to enhance NFAT-dependent transcription. Hence, these results implicate RhoG in leukocyte trafficking and the control of gene expression induced in response to antigen encounter.
We have investigated the role of the Rho and Rac family small guanine triphosphate (GTP) exchange factors (RhoGEFs), Vav1 and Vav2, in the activation of platelets by the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-coupled collagen receptor GPVI and by the G protein-coupled receptor agonist thrombin. The glycoprotein VI (GPVI)-specific agonist collagen-related peptide (CRP) and thrombin stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of Vav1 but not Vav2 in human platelets. Surprisingly, however, CRP did not activate the low-molecular-weight G protein Rac and stimulated only a small increase in activity of p21-associated kinase 2 (PAK2), despite the fact that both proteins are regulated downstream of Vav1 in other cells. Further, activation of Rac and PAK2 by thrombin was maintained in platelets from mice deficient in Vav1. Activation of phospholipase C (PLC) by GPVI and thrombin was unaltered in Vav1-, Vav2-, and Vav1/Vav2-deficient platelets. A weak inhibition of late-stage aggregation to CRP and thrombin was observed in platelets deficient in Vav1 but not Vav2, whereas spreading on fibrinogen was not changed. The present results demonstrate that neither Vav1 nor Vav2 lie upstream of PLC or Rac in platelets, highlighting an important difference in their role in signaling by ITAM-coupled receptors in other cell types. The present study has provided evidence for a possible role of Vav1 but not Vav2 in the later stages of platelet aggregation.
Mice lacking the p110delta catalytic subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase have reduced numbers of B1 and marginal zone B cells, reduced levels of serum immunoglobulins, respond poorly to immunization with type II thymus-independent antigen, and are defective in their primary and secondary responses to thymus-dependent antigen. p110delta(-/-) B cells proliferate poorly in response to B cell receptor (BCR) or CD40 signals in vitro, fail to activate protein kinase B, and are prone to apoptosis. p110delta function is required for BCR-mediated calcium flux, activation of phosphlipaseCgamma2, and Bruton's tyrosine kinase. Thus, p110delta plays a critical role in B cell homeostasis and function.
In recent years, substantial progress has been made towards the identification of intracellular signalling molecules that couple multi-subunit immune-recognition receptors (MIRRs) to their various effector functions. Among these, the VAV proteins have been observed to have a crucial role in regulating some of the earliest events in receptor signalling. VAV proteins function, in part, as guanine-nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for the RHO/RAC family of GTPases. This review focuses on the role of VAV proteins in the regulation of lymphocyte development and function, and emphasizes the regulatory roles that these proteins have through both GEF-dependent and -independent mechanisms.
We have analyzed the effects of deficiency in the tyrosine kinase Lyn on B cell development using transgenic mice that express a B cell antigen receptor (BCR) of defined specificity (3-83,anti-H-2K(k or b)). In the absence of Lyn, immature B cells are abundant in the bone marrow and spleen up until the T1 stage (IgM(hi) IgD(-) CD21(-)CD23(-)), after which B cell development is severely impaired. The small number of mature B cells that do develop in Lyn-deficient mice express normal levels of the transgenic BCR and lack expression of CD80 and CD86, suggesting they are not activated. In Lyn-deficient animals the presence of a Bcl-2 transgene leads to a dramatic increase in B cell numbers and restores T2 stage (IgM(hi) IgD(hi) CD21(hi) CD23(int)) and mature populations. In 3-83 lyn-/- Bcl-2 Tg mice, a population of lambda-positive cells that also express the 383 idiotype is evident, suggesting that in the absence of lyn isotype exclusion by the transgenic BCR is less efficient. The results indicate that Lyn plays a positive role in the selection and survival of mature B cells in addition to its previously documented negative role in tolerance and B cell activation.
The intracellular signals that trigger natural cytotoxicity have not been clearly determined. The Syk and ZAP-70 tyrosine kinases are essential for cellular activation initiated by B and T cell antigen receptors and may drive natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity via receptors bearing immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs). However, we found that, unlike B and T cells, NK cells developed in Syk-/-ZAP-70-/- mice and, despite their nonfunctional ITAMs, lysed various tumor targets in vitro and eliminated tumor cells in vivo, including those without NKG2D ligands. The simultaneous inhibition of phosphatidyl inositol 3 kinase and Src kinases abrogated the cytolytic activity of Syk-/-ZAP-70-/- NK cells and strongly reduced that of wild-type NK cells. This suggests that distinct and redundant signaling pathways act synergistically to trigger natural cytotoxicity.
B lymphocytes from mice null for the Rho-family guanine-nucleotide exchange factor, Vav, are defective in their ability to proliferate in response to BCR cross-linking, but are able to proliferate normally in response to LPS. In addition, they have a depletion of CD5(+) (B1) lymphocytes and defective IgG class switching. This phenotype is reminiscent of that observed in mice null for the cell cycle regulatory protein, cyclin D2. We demonstrate here that the inability of vav(-/-) B cells to proliferate in response to BCR ligation is due to an inability to induce cyclin D2. In addition, we show that the proliferative defect of these cells occurs after the cells have entered early G1 phase. Analyses of potential down-stream signaling intermediates revealed differential activation of the stress-activated MAP kinases in the absence of Vav, normal activation of the ERK, MAPK, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways, and defective intracellular calcium mobilization. We further demonstrate that intracellular calcium homeostasis is required for cyclin D2 induction, implicating a possible link with the defective calcium response of vav(-/-) B cells and their inability to induce cyclin D2.
The product of the protooncogene Vav1 participates in multiple signaling pathways and is a critical regulator of antigen-receptor signaling in B and T lymphocytes, but its role during in vivo natural killer (NK) cell differentiation is not known. Here we have studied NK cell development in Vav1-/- mice and found that, in contrast to T and NK-T cells, the absolute numbers of phenotypically mature NK cells were not reduced. Vav1-/- mice produced normal amounts of interferon (IFN)-gamma in response to Listeria monocytogenes and controlled early infection but showed reduced tumor clearance in vivo. In vitro stimulation of surface receptors in Vav1-/- NK cells resulted in normal IFN-gamma production but reduced tumor cell lysis. Vav1 was found to control activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases and exocytosis of cytotoxic granules. In contrast, conjugate formation appeared to be only mildly affected, and calcium mobilization was normal in Vav1-/- NK cells. These results highlight fundamental differences between proximal signaling events in T and NK cells and suggest a functional dichotomy for Vav1 in NK cells: a role in cytotoxicity but not for IFN-gamma production.
B and T lymphocytes develop normally in mice lacking the guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav-2. However, the immune responses to type II thymus-independent antigen as well as the primary response to thymus-dependent (TD) antigen are defective. Vav-2-deficient mice are also defective in their ability to switch immunoglobulin class, form germinal centers and generate secondary immune responses to TD antigens. Mice lacking both Vav-1 and Vav-2 contain reduced numbers of B lymphocytes and display a maturational block in the development of mature B cells. B cells from Vav-1(-/-)Vav-2(-/-) mice respond poorly to antigen receptor triggering, both in terms of proliferation and calcium release. These studies show the importance of Vav-2 in humoral immune responses and B cell maturation.
Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases are a family of dual specificity lipid/protein kinases. The products of PI3K's, phosphatidylinositol(3,4,5) triphosphate and phosphatidylinositol(3,4) bisphosphate, act as second messengers connecting activated transmembrane receptors to signaling pathways that control gene transcription, proliferation, transformation, programmed cell death, adhesion, migration and vesicular transport. There is evidence that different isoforms of PI3K's activate specific signaling pathways and are thus responsible for integrating cellular responses. The elucidation of the genomic structure of the catalytic subunits is a necessary step for the investigation of the function of PI3K isoforms by inactivation of the gene in vivo. The structural organization of p110alpha, beta, and gamma genes has been previously reported. Here we report the cloning, sequencing, and structural organization of the mouse p110delta gene from a murine 129/Sv genomic library. The p110delta gene consists of 22 exons and spans over 13 kb. Comparison of the genomic structure with that of p110alpha, beta, and gamma demonstrates that the p110delta gene shares its exon structure with p110beta, the most closely related PI3K at the amino acid level.
We show here that Vav-2 is tyrosine phosphorylated following antigen receptor engagement in both B- and T-cells, but potentiates nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)-dependent transcription only in B cells. Vav-2 function requires the N-terminus, as well as functional Dbl homology and SH2 domains. More over, the enhancement of NFAT-dependent transcription by Vav-2 can be inhibited by a number of dominant-negative GTPases. The ability of Vav-2 to potentiate NFAT-dependent transcription correlates with its ability to promote a sustained calcium flux. Thus, Vav-2 augments the calcium signal in B cells but not T cells, and a truncated form of Vav-2 can neither activate NFAT nor augment calcium signaling. The CD19 co-receptor physically interacts with Vav-2 and synergistically enhances Vav-2 phosphorylation induced by the B-cell receptor (BCR). In addition, we found that Vav-2 augments CD19-stimulated NFAT- dependent transcription, as well as transcription from the CD5 enhancer. These data suggest a role for Vav-2 in transducing BCR signals to the transcription factor NFAT and implicate Vav-2 in the integration of BCR and CD19 signaling.
The CD45 tyrosine phosphatase lowers T-cell antigen receptor signalling thresholds by its positive actions on p56(lck) tyrosine kinase function. We now show that mice expressing active lck(F505) at non-oncogenic levels develop aggressive thymic lymphomas on a CD45(-/-) background. CD45 suppresses the tumorigenic potential of the kinase by dephosphorylation of the Tyr394 autophosphorylation site. In CD45(-/-) thymocytes the kinase is switched to a hyperactive oncogenic state, resulting in increased resistance to apoptosis. Transformation occurs in early CD4(-)CD8(-) thymocytes during the process of TCR-beta chain rearrangement by a recombinase-independent mechanism. Our findings represent the first example in which a tyrosine phosphatase in situ prevents the oncogenic actions of a SRC: family tyrosine kinase.
The Syk protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) is essential for B, but not T or NK, cell development, although certain T cell subsets (i.e., gamma delta T cells of intestine and skin) appear to be dependent on Syk. In this report, we have re-evaluated the role of Syk in T cell development in hematopoietic chimeras generated by using Syk-deficient fetal liver hematopoietic stem cells (FL-HSC). We found that Syk-/- FL-HSC were vastly inferior to wild-type FL-HSC in reconstituting T cell development in recombinant-activating gene 2 (RAG2)-deficient mice, identifying an unexpected and nonredundant role for Syk in this process. This novel function of Syk in T cell development was mapped to the CD44-CD25+ stage. According to previous reports, development of intestinal gamma delta T cells was arrested in Syk-/- -->RAG2-/- chimeras. In striking contrast, when hosts were the newly established alymphoid RAG2 x common cytokine receptor gamma-chain (RAG2/gamma c) mice, Syk-/- chimeras developed intestinal gamma delta T cells as well as other T cell subsets (including alpha beta T cells, NK1.1+ alpha beta T cells, and splenic and thymic gamma delta T cells). However, all Syk-deficient T cell subsets were reduced in number, reaching about 25-50% of controls. These results attest to the utility of chimeric mice generated in a low competitive hematopoietic environment to evaluate more accurately the impact of lethal mutations on lymphoid development. Furthermore, they suggest that Syk intervenes in early T cell development independently of ZAP-70, and demonstrate that Syk is not essential for the intestinal gamma delta T cell lineage to develop.
The tyrosine kinase SYK plays critical roles in signalling through immune receptors. Gene-targeting studies have identified the cell types that require SYK for development and function, and the receptors that use SYK as well as their downstream signalling effectors. There is also evidence of a role for SYK in non-immune cells and in the maintenance of vascular integrity.
The T cell repertoire is shaped by positive and negative selection of thymocytes. TCR-mediated signals that determine these selection processes are only partly understood. The CD45 tyrosine phosphatase has been shown to be important for signal transduction through the TCR, but there has been disagreement about whether CD45 is a positive or negative regulator of TCR signaling. Using CD45-deficient mice expressing transgenic TCR, we show that in the absence of CD45 there is a large increase in the thresholds of TCR stimulation required for both positive and negative selection. Our results conclusively demonstrate that in double-positive thymocytes CD45 is a positive regulator of the TCR signals that drive thymic selection events.
The pre-TCR complex regulates the transition from CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative (DN) to CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) thymocytes during T cell development. In CD45(-/-) mice there is an accumulation of DN cells, suggesting a possible role for CD45 in pre-TCR signaling. We therefore crossed CD45(-/-) with Rag-1(-/-) mice to investigate the signaling functions of the CD3 complex in DN thymocytes. Remarkably, treatment of Rag-1(-/-)/CD45(-/-) mice with a CD3 mAb caused maturation to the DP stage at only 3% of the level measured in Rag-1(-/-) mice. Furthermore, ligation of the CD3 complex on Rag-1(-/-) /CD45(-/-) thymocytes in vitro induced less tyrosine phosphorylation in specific proteins when compared to Rag-1(-/-) thymocytes. CD45(-/-) mice were also crossed with pLGFA mice expressing a constitutively active form of the lck tyrosine kinase which restored the DN to DP transition to near normal levels. Our results are consistent with a model in which CD45-activated p56(lck) is critical for pre-TCR signal transduction.
Syk and ZAP-70 subserve nonredundant functions in B and T lymphopoiesis. In the absence of Syk, B cell development is blocked, while T cell development is arrested in the absence of ZAP-70. The receptors and the signaling molecules required for differentiation of NK cells are poorly characterized. Here we investigate the role of the Syk protein tyrosine kinase in NK cell differentiation. Hemopoietic chimeras were generated by reconstituting alymphoid (B-, T-, NK-) recombinase-activating gene-2 x common cytokine receptor gamma-chain double-mutant mice with Syk-/- fetal liver cells. The phenotypically mature Syk-/- NK cells that developed in this context were fully competent in natural cytotoxicity and in calibrating functional inhibitory receptors for MHC molecules. Syk-deficient NK cells demonstrated reduced levels of Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Nevertheless, Syk-/- NK cells could signal through NK1. 1 and 2B4 activating receptors and expressed ZAP-70 protein. We conclude that the Syk protein tyrosine kinase is not essential for murine NK cell development, and that compensatory signaling pathways (including those mediated through ZAP-70) may sustain most NK cell functions in the absence of Syk.
We have characterized changes in [Ca2+]i in primary mouse megakaryocytes in response to fibrillar collagen and in response to cross-linking of the collagen receptor, the integrin alpha2beta1. The response to collagen was markedly different from that seen to a triple helical collagen-related peptide (CRP), which signals via the tyrosine kinases p59(fyn) and p72(syk). This peptide binds to the collagen receptor glycoprotein VI (GPVI), but not to the integrin alpha2beta1. Collagen elicited a sustained increase in [Ca2+]i composed primarily of influx of extracellular Ca2+ with some Ca2+ release from internal stores. In contrast to CRP, this response was only partially (approximately 30%) inhibited by the src-family kinase inhibitor PP1 (10 micromol/L) or by microinjection of the tandem SH2 domains of p72(syk). Collagen also caused an increase in [Ca2+]i in megakaryocytes deficient in either p59(fyn) or p72(syk), although the response was reduced by approximately 40% in both cases: Cross-linking of the alpha2 integrin increased [Ca2+]i in these cells exclusively via Ca2+ influx. This response was reduced by approximately 50% after PP1 pretreatment, but was significantly increased in fyn-deficient megakaryocytes. Collagen therefore increases [Ca2+]i in mouse megakaryocytes via multiple receptors, including GPVI, which causes Ca2+ mobilization, and alpha2beta1, which stimulates a substantial influx of extracellular Ca2+.
Agonists induce inside-out alphaIIbbeta3 signaling resulting in fibrinogen binding and platelet aggregation. These in turn trigger outside-in signaling resulting in further platelet stimulation. Because the Syk tyrosine kinase is activated during both phases of integrin signaling, we evaluated its role in alphaIIbbeta3 function in murine platelets rendered null for Syk by gene targeting and in human platelets incubated with piceatannol, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor reportedly selective for Syk. Both Syk null murine platelets and piceatannol-treated human platelets exhibited a partial, but statistically significant defect in activation of alphaIIbbeta3 by adenine diphosphate (ADP) +/- epinephrine as assessed by fibrinogen binding. Syk null platelets adhered normally to immobilized fibrinogen, and mice with these platelets exhibited normal tail bleeding times. In contrast, piceatannol treatment of human platelets completely inhibited platelet adhesion to immobilized fibrinogen. The discrepancy in extent of integrin dysfunction between murine and human platelet models may be due to lack of specificity of piceatannol, because this compound inhibited the activity of Src and FAK as well as Syk and also reduced tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple platelet proteins. These results provide genetic evidence that Syk plays a role in alphaIIbbeta3 signaling in platelets and pharmacological evidence that, although piceatannol also inhibits alphaIIbbeta3 signaling, it does so by inhibtion of multiple protein tyrosine kinases.
Vav is a GTP/GDP exchange factor (GEF) for members of the Rho-family of GTPases that is rapidly tyrosine-phosphorylated after engagement of the T cell receptor (TCR), suggesting that it may transduce signals from the receptor. T cells from mice made Vav-deficient by gene targeting (Vav-/-) fail to proliferate in response to TCR stimulation because they fail to secrete IL-2. We now show that this is due at least in part to the failure to initiate IL-2 gene transcription. Furthermore, we analyze TCR-proximal signaling pathways in Vav-/- T cells and show that despite normal activation of the Lck and ZAP-70 tyrosine kinases, the mutant cells have specific defects in TCR-induced intracellular calcium fluxes, in the activation of extracellular signal-regulated mitogen-activated protein kinases and in the activation of the NF-kappaB transcription factor. Finally, we show that the greatly reduced TCR-induced calcium flux of Vav-deficient T cells is an important cause of their proliferative defect, because restoration of the calcium flux with a calcium ionophore reverses the phenotype.
Vav, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for members of the Rho family of small GTPases, is activated through engagement of B and T lymphocyte antigen receptors. It is important for establishing the signaling threshold of the TCR, as mice lacking Vav display defective thymocyte selection. Here, conventional B cells are shown to develop normally in Vav-deficient mice but these mice have few B-1 B cells. The threshold for inducing B cell proliferation through BCR engagement in vitro is greater in Vav-deficient B cells. Nevertheless, in vivo the mutant mice have normal antibody responses to haptenated Ficoll. In contrast, Vav-/- mice show defective class switching to IgG and germinal center formation when immunized with haptenated protein. Interestingly, this defect is reversed in chimeras where normal T cells are present. Antigen-specific proliferation of T cells in the T zone was found to be similar in wild-type and Vav-/- mice but the induction of IL-4 mRNA and switch transcripts was specifically impaired. These results suggest that defective immunoglobulin class switching in Vav-deficient mice is attributable to compromised T cell help.
Collagen-related peptide (CRP), a collagen homologue, induces platelet activation through a tyrosine kinase-dependent pathway, leading to sequential tyrosine phosphorylation of Fc receptor (FcR) gamma-chain, Syk, and phospholipase C-gamma2. Here we report that CRP and the platelet low affinity immune receptor FcgammaRIIA stimulate tyrosine phosphorylation of the T cell adapter SLP-76, whereas the G protein-coupled receptor agonist thrombin induces only minor tyrosine phosphorylation. This suggests that SLP-76 has a specific role downstream of receptors that signal via an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif. Immunoprecipitation studies demonstrate association of SLP-76 with SLAP-130, Vav, Fyn, Lyn, and the FcR gamma-chain in CRP-stimulated platelets. Several of these proteins, including SLP-76, undergo tyrosine phosphorylation in in vitro kinase assays performed on SLP-76 immunoprecipitates. Tyrosine phosphorylation of all of these proteins in the in vitro kinase assay was abrogated by the Src family kinase inhibitor PP1, suggesting that it is mediated by either Fyn or Lyn. The physiological significance of this is uncertain, however, since tyrosine phosphorylation of SLP-76 in vivo is not altered in either Fyn- or Lyn-deficient platelets. CRP stimulation of Syk-deficient platelets demonstrated that in vivo tyrosine phosphorylation of SLP-76 is downstream of Syk. The absence of Syk in the SLP-76 immunoprecipitates raises the possibility that another protein is responsible for bringing SLP-76 to Syk. Candidates for this include those proteins that co-immunoprecipitate with SLP-76, including the FcR gamma-chain. Tyrosine phosphorylation of PLC-gamma2 and Ca2+ mobilization is markedly attenuated in SLP-76-deficient platelets following CRP stimulation, suggesting that the adapter plays a critical role in the regulation of the phospholipase. The increase in tyrosine phosphorylation of SLAP-130 in response to CRP is also inhibited in SLP-76-deficient platelets, placing it downstream of SLP-76. This work identifies SLP-76 as an important adapter molecule that is regulated by Syk and lies upstream of SLAP-130 and PLC-gamma2 in CRP-stimulated platelets.
CD19 is a coreceptor that amplifies signaling by membrane immunoglobulin (mIg) to promote responses of the B lymphocyte to T-dependent antigens. Vav is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the Rho, Rac, Cdc42 family of small GTPases. We found that coligating mIg and CD19 causes a synergistic increase in the tyrosine phosphorylation of CD19. Phosphorylated tyrosine-391 of CD19 binds Vav to mediate a sustained increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration. This response correlates with activation by the CD19-Vav complex of phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase for the synthesis of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. Interaction of CD19 with Vav also mediates the synergistic activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase JNK. Therefore, CD19 is a membrane adaptor protein that recruits Vav for the activation of lipid and protein kinases.
Fc gamma RIIB are low-affinity receptors for IgG whose intracytoplasmic domain contains an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibition motif (ITIM). Fc gamma RIIB inhibit cell activation triggered by receptors that signal via immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs. This inhibition requires ITIM tyrosyl phosphorylation and is correlated with the binding of SH2 domain-containing phosphatases that may mediate the inhibitory signal. In the present work, we investigated the mechanism of Fc gamma RIIB phosphorylation and its consequences in mast cells. We demonstrate that the phosphorylation of Fc gamma RIIB requires coaggregation with Fc epsilon RI and that, once phosphorylated, Fc gamma RIIB selectively recruit the inositol polyphosphate 5 phosphatase SHIP, in vivo. In vitro, however, the phosphorylated Fc gamma RIIB ITIM binds not only SHIP, but also the two protein tyrosine phosphatases, SHP-1 and SHP-2. We show that the coaggregation of Fc gamma RIIB with Fc epsilon RI does not prevent Fc epsilon RI-mediated activation of lyn and syk. Both kinases can phosphorylate Fc gamma RIIB in vitro. However, when coaggregated with Fc epsilon RI, Fc gamma RIIB was in vivo phosphorylated in syk-deficient mast cells, but not in lyn-deficient mast cells. When Fc epsilon RI are coaggregated with Fc gamma RIIB by immune complexes, Fc epsilon RI-associated lyn may thus phosphorylate Fc gamma RIIB. By this mechanism, Fc epsilon RI initiate ITIM-dependent inhibition of intracellular propagation of their own signals.
The tyrosine kinase Syk has been implicated as a key signal transducer from the B cell antigen receptor (BCR). We show here that mutation of the Syk gene completely blocks the maturation of immature B cells into recirculating cells and stops their entry into B cell follicles. Furthermore, using radiation chimeras we demonstrate that this developmental block is due to the absence of Syk in the B cells themselves. Syk-deficient B cells are shown to have the life span of normal immature B cells. If this is extended by over-expression of Bcl-2, they accumulate in the T zone and red pulp of the spleen in increased numbers, but still fail to mature to become recirculating follicular B cells. Despite this defect in maturation, Syk-deficient B cells were seen to give rise to switched as well as nonswitched splenic plasma cells. Normally only a proportion of immature B cells is recruited into the recirculating pool. Our results suggest that Syk transduces a BCR signal that is absolutely required for the positive selection of immature B cells into the recirculating B cell pool.
The T cell repertoire is shaped by positive and negative selection of thymocytes that express low levels of T cell receptor (TCR) and both CD4 and CD8. TCR-mediated signals that determine these selection processes are only partly understood. Vav, a GDP-GTP exchange factor for Rho-family proteins, is tyrosine phosphorylated following TCR stimulation, suggesting that it may transduce TCR signals. We now demonstrate that mice lacking Vav are viable and display a profound defect in the positive selection of both class I- and class II-restricted T cells. In contrast, Vav is not essential for negative selection, though in its absence negative selection is much less effective. Vav may influence the efficiency of TCR-induced selection events by regulating the intracellular calcium flux of thymocytes.
Stimulation of platelets by collagen leads to activation of a tyrosine kinase cascade resulting in secretion and aggregation. We have recently shown that this pathway involves rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of an Fc receptor gamma chain, which contains an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM), enabling interaction with the tandem SH2 domains of the tyrosine kinase Syk. Activation of Syk lies upstream of tyrosine phosphorylation of phospholipase Cgamma2. In the present study we sought to test directly the role of the ITAM/Syk interaction and the role of the Src-related kinases in collagen receptor signaling using mouse megakaryocytes. We demonstrate that the calcium-mobilizing action of a collagen-related peptide (CRP) is kinase-dependent, inhibited by the microinjection of the tandem SH2 domains of Syk and abolished in Syk-deficient mice. Furthermore, the CRP response is abolished by the Src family kinase inhibitor PP1 and inhibited in Fyn-deficient mice. In contrast, the calcium response to the G-protein-linked receptor agonist thrombin is not significantly altered under these conditions. These results provide direct evidence of the functional importance of Fyn and Syk in collagen receptor signaling and support the megakaryocyte as a model for the study of proteins involved in this pathway.
Receptors on macrophages for the Fc region of IgG (FcgammaR) mediate a number of responses important for host immunity. Signaling events necessary for these responses are likely initiated by the activation of Src-family and Syk-family tyrosine kinases after FcgammaR cross-linking. Macrophages derived from Syk-deficient (Syk-) mice were defective in phagocytosis of particles bound by FcgammaRs, as well as in many FcgammaR-induced signaling events, including tyrosine phosphorylation of a number of cellular substrates and activation of MAP kinases. In contrast, Syk- macrophages exhibited normal responses to another potent macrophage stimulus, lipopolysaccharide. Phagocytosis of latex beads and Escherichia coli bacteria was also not affected. Syk- macrophages exhibited formation of polymerized actin structures opposing particles bound to the cells by FcgammaRs (actin cups), but failed to proceed to internalization. Interestingly, inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase also blocked FcgammaR-mediated phagocytosis at this stage. Thus, PI 3-kinase may participate in a Syk-dependent signaling pathway critical for FcgammaR-mediated phagocytosis. Macrophages derived from mice deficient for the three members of the Src-family of kinases expressed in these cells, Hck, Fgr, and Lyn, exhibited poor Syk activation upon FcgammaR engagement, accompanied by a delay in FcgammaR-mediated phagocytosis. These observations demonstrate that Syk is critical for FcgammaR-mediated phagocytosis, as well as for signal transduction in macrophages. Additionally, our findings provide evidence to support a model of sequential tyrosine kinase activation by FcgammaR's analogous to models of signaling by the B and T cell antigen receptors.
Activation of mouse platelets by collagen is associated with tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple proteins including the Fc receptor gamma-chain, the tyrosine kinase Syk and phospholipase Cgamma2, suggesting that collagen signals in a manner similar to that of immune receptors. This hypothesis has been tested using platelets from mice lacking the Fc receptor gamma-chain or Syk. Tyrosine phosphorylation of Syk and phospholipase Cgamma2 by collagen stimulation is absent in mice lacking the Fc receptor gamma-chain. Tyrosine phosphorylation of phospholipase Cgamma2 by collagen stimulation is also absent in mice platelets which lack Syk, although phosphorylation of the Fc receptor gamma-chain is maintained. In contrast, tyrosine phosphorylation of platelet proteins by the G protein-coupled receptor agonist thrombin is maintained in mouse platelets deficient in Fc receptor gamma-chain or Syk. The absence of Fc receptor gamma-chain or Syk is accompanied by a loss of secretion and aggregation responses in collagen- but not thrombin-stimulated platelets. These observations provide the first direct evidence of an essential role for the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) in signalling by a non-immune receptor stimulus.
Activation of the high affinity IgE receptor (Fc epsilon RI) of mast cells, a member of the antigen receptor family, leads to the release of allergic mediators, a critical event in the onset of immediate hypersensitivity. Stimulation of Fc epsilon RI results in the rapid association and activation of the Syk tyrosine kinase. Using Syk-deficient mast cells we show that they fail to degranulate, synthesize leukotrienes and secrete cytokines when stimulated through Fc epsilon RI, conclusively demonstrating an essential role for Syk in Fc epsilon RI signalling. Furthermore, our data strongly supports a model of Fc epsilon RI engagement leading to the sequential activation of the tyrosine kinases Lyn and then Syk. A similar mechanism is likely to apply to signal transduction through all members of the antigen receptor family.
Two soluble tumour-necrosis-factor-alpha(TNF)-binding proteins are derived from the extracellular domains of the p55 and p75 TNF receptors. They are considered to play a pivotal regulatory role in TNF-mediated inflammatory processes, including diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, by competing with the cell surface receptors for TNF and lymphotoxin (LT, tumour-necrosis factor beta). The extracellular domains of the two receptors each contain four similar cysteine-rich repeats of about 40 amino acids, in common with several other cell surface proteins including the p75 nerve-growth-factor receptor and the CD40 and Fas antigens. The aim of this study was to characterize the involvement of the four cysteine-rich repeats of the human p55 TNF receptor in TNF and LT binding by both membrane-bound and soluble forms of the receptor. Individual repeats were systematically deleted by PCR mutagenesis and the variants transiently expressed in COS cells. Immunoprecipitated receptor variants exhibited the expected sizes on SDS/PAGE gels, and bound a panel of conformation-dependent anti-(TNF receptor) antibodies. Binding of TNF by the four soluble derivatives was compared with binding by the wild-type soluble receptor using a TNF-affinity column and a BIAcore Biosensor, by measurement of their ability to inhibit TNF cytotoxicity on WEHI cells, and 125I-TNF binding to U937 cells. delta 4, which lacks the fourth cysteine-rich repeat, bound TNF comparably with the full-length soluble receptor. TNF-binding affinity was unaltered by deletion of the fourth membrane-proximal cysteine-rich repeat, as determined by Scatchard analysis of the transmembrane derivatives. We conclude that the fourth cysteine-rich repeat is not required for TNF binding. In contrast, both the soluble and the transmembrane derivatives lacking any one of the first, second or third repeats failed to bind TNF. Although we cannot entirely exclude the possibility that this may be due to indirect conformational change, rather than the removal of essential epitopes, our results suggest that the first three repeats are each required for TNF binding by both the soluble and the cell-surface receptor.
Crosslinking of B- or T-cell antigen receptors results in the rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of a number of proteins, including Vav, a protein expressed in cells of the haematopoietic system. Vav contains an array of structural motifs that include Src-homology domains SH2/SH3 and regions of homology to the guanine-nucleotide-exchange protein Dbl, pleckstrin and protein kinase C (refs 5-9). Using the RAG-complementation approach, we have analysed in vivo differentiation and in vitro responses of B- and T-lineage cells generated by injection of embryonic stem cells homozygous for a null mutation in the vav gene into blastocysts of RAG-1- or RAG-2-deficient mice. Here we report that antigen receptor-mediated proliferative responses of B and T cells in vitro are severely reduced in the absence of Vav. We also suggest a direct link between the low proliferative response of Vav-deficient B and T cells and the reduced number of these cells in peripheral lymphoid organs of chimaeric mice.
The tyrosine kinase Syk (relative molecular mass 72,000), which is widely expressed in haematopoietic cells, becomes associated with and activated by engagement of the B-cell antigen receptor. Furthermore, it has been implicated in signalling through the receptors for interleukin-2 (IL-2), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and Fc, the T cell receptor, as well as through receptors for several platelet agonists. A homologous kinase, ZAP-70, is crucial in signalling through the T-cell receptor and in T-cell development. Using homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells, we created mice null for the syk gene which showed petechiae in utero and died shortly after birth. Irradiated mice reconstituted with Syk-deficient fetal liver showed a block in B-cell development at the pro-B to pre-B cell transition, consistent with a key role for Syk in pre-B-cell receptor signalling. Despite the production of small numbers of immature B cells, Syk-deficient radiation chimaeras failed to accumulate mature B cells, indicating a possible role for this protein in the production or maintenance of mature B cells. In addition, whereas the development of alpha beta T cells proceeded normally, Syk-deficient mice showed impaired development of thymocytes using the V gamma 3 variable region gene (V gamma 3+ thymocytes). Finally, we show that Syk is not required for signalling through the IL-2 and G-CSF receptors.
In rheumatoid arthritis there is a chronic immune and inflammatory reaction which can lead to the destruction of the diseased joint. Cytokine gene expression was studied in synovial cells using cDNA probes specific for human interleukin 1 (IL-1), -alpha and IL-1 beta, tumour necrosis factor (TNF), -alpha and TNF beta (lymphotoxin); protein molecules which induce cartilage degradation and bone resorption. In all cases studied, IL-1 mRNA was present in freshly isolated synovial cells from fluid or membrane. Compared to levels of IL-1 mRNA found in optimally activated normal blood mononuclear cells, the levels of IL-1 alpha mRNA were high in seven of the nine patients studied, whereas IL-1 beta mRNA, the dominant form in blood, was relatively lower. TNF alpha and TNF beta mRNA were also detected. Rheumatoid synovial cells, cultured without any stimulus, continued to express high levels of IL-1 alpha mRNA for up to 5 days, compared to the 24 h response of activated blood cells; IL-1 beta mRNA in culture was also prolonged. Cultures of rheumatoid joint cells produced IL-1 bioactivity, with roughly equal amounts of IL-1 alpha and beta, as assessed using neutralizing antibodies. TNF bioactivity was also detected which may be of importance as TNF induces the production of IL-1. The finding of these mediators produced in large amounts in active rheumatoid synovial cells suggests that mutually stimulatory cell interactions, mediated by these molecules, may be important in the chronic inflammation and tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.
The acute monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 secretes predominantly IL-1 beta after treatment with bacterial lipopolysaccharide and tumour promoting phorbol ester (PMA). IL-1 alpha is also secreted, but represents less than 10% of the total IL-1 activity. This differential is reflected at the level of mRNA as IL-1 beta mRNA is more abundant than IL-1 alpha mRNA. Studies of transcription in isolated nuclei however indicate that each gene is transcribed at a similar rate, suggesting that post-transcriptional mechanisms regulate the relative abundance of IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta mRNA. Measurement of RNA half life after addition of alpha-amanitin (an inhibitor of RNA polymerase II) indicate that IL-1 alpha mRNA is not as stable as IL-1 beta mRNA suggesting one mechanism for the different relative levels of RNA.
The expression of the mRNA encoding tumour necrosis factor, lymphotoxin and interleukin-6 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was analysed. Unstimulated cells contained no detectable mRNA for these cytokines, however each mRNA was transiently expressed after stimulation with either the combination of phytohaemagglutinin and phorbol ester or the single stimulus of lipopolysaccharide. The dual stimulus yielded the stronger signal. The cytokine mRNA's had short half lives, but were stabilised following protein synthesis inhibition. Cyclosporin A completely blocked induction of lymphotoxin and partially inhibited induction of TNF and IL-6 mRNA. The features of regulation described in this paper suggest these genes belong within the "early" set of genes expressed following immune cell activation.
T cell clones derived from patients with autoimmune diseases were found to be capable of producing tumor necrosis factor (TNF). This was demonstrated by stimulating the clones, in the absence of accessory cells, with antibodies against the Ti/T3 complex and with recombinant interleukin 2 (IL2). Analysis of RNA extracted from these clones showed that TNF mRNA was more abundant than lymphotoxin (LT) mRNA. We also found that TNF protein in the supernatants of these clones was generally more abundant than LT as assessed by using the murine L929 cell assay. TNF production was not limited to T cells from autoimmune individuals, since the T cell tumor HUT78 and T cells purified from the peripheral blood of healthy individuals also made TNF. Unlike the T cell clones, HUT78 produced greater amounts of LT mRNA than TNF mRNA. Induction of TNF mRNA in T cells from healthy individuals displayed a two-signal requirement (phorbol myristate 13-acetate and phytohemagglutinin or OKT3 and phorbol myristate 13-acetate), similar to that described for the induction of the T cell lymphokines IL 2 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). Additionally we found that IL2 alone was sufficient to induce TNF in these cells when they had been precultured with phytohemagglutinin for 7 days to express IL 2 receptors. The cloned T cells we have characterized also produce IFN-gamma which was detected in the supernatants of the clones using a radioimmunoassay. The evidence suggests that T cells can produce TNF and have the potential to deliver by themselves the dual and synergistic signals of TNF/LT and IFN-gamma to target cells, a process which may be of importance in the pathogenesis of human autoimmunity.
The production and growth regulatory activity of transforming growth factor beta were studied in human thyroid tissue. As estimated by its mRNA expression in fresh tissue samples, transforming growth factor beta was produced in normal and in diseased thyroid glands. Transforming growth factor beta mRNA was mainly produced by thyroid follicular cells and in lesser quantities by thyroid infiltrating mononuclear cells. The concentrations of transforming growth factor beta mRNA were lower in iodine-deficient nontoxic goiter than in Graves' disease and normal thyroid tissue. Transforming growth factor beta protein secretion by cultured thyroid follicular cells was also low in nontoxic goiter, but could be increased by addition of sodium iodide (10 microM) to the culture medium. Recombinant transforming growth factor beta did not affect basal tritiated thymidine incorporation in cultured thyroid follicular cells, but inhibited, at a concentration of 10 ng/ml, the growth stimulatory influence of insulin-like growth factor I, epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor alpha, TSH, and partly that of normal human serum on cultured thyroid follicular cells. This inhibition was greater in Graves' disease than in nontoxic goiter. These results suggest that transforming growth factor beta may act as an autocrine growth inhibitor on thyroid follicular cells. Decreased transforming growth factor beta production and decreased responsiveness to transforming growth factor beta may be cofactors in the pathogenesis of iodine-deficient nontoxic goiter.
Recombinant tumour necrosis factor (TNF) promotes survival and induces proliferation in the tumour cells from two malignancies of B lymphocytes--hairy-cell leukaemia and B-chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Culture with TNF also induces TNF mRNA and protein, so the cytokine may act as an autocrine tumour growth factor. These growth promoting effects are antagonised by alpha but not by gamma interferon.
The effects of interleukin 7 (IL7) previously known as murine pre-B cell growth factor/lymphopoietin 1 on the growth of murine thymocytes was investigated. In the presence of a suboptimal dose of phytohemagglutinin, IL7 induced a dose-dependent increase in thymocyte proliferation which was comparable to that induced by IL1. Additionally IL7 was shown to synergize with a suboptimal dose of IL1 to enhance thymocyte proliferation. Thymocyte proliferation induced by IL7, like that induced by IL1, was inhibited when either recombinant transforming growth factor (TGF) beta 1 or beta 2 were added at the initiation of culture. Interestingly, IL7-driven thymocyte proliferation was considerably less susceptible to inhibition by TGF-beta 1 or TGF-beta 2 than that induced by IL1. Taken together these results suggest IL7 may activate distinct populations of thymocytes and/or act through a pathway distinct from that utilized by IL1.
Cytokine production was studied in thyroid tissue from patients with Graves' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and non-toxic goitre. The expression of interferon gamma, tumour necrosis factor alpha and beta, interleukin-1 alpha and beta, interleukin-6 and platelet-derived growth factor A chain was assessed by slot-blot analysis of the respective mRNA in freshly isolated tissue samples. All seven cytokines were detected in patients of all groups. Although the respective mRNA levels were, in general, higher in thyroid autoimmune disorders, this appeared to relate to the degree of the lymphocytic infiltration of the thyroid gland at the time of surgery. Purified thyroid follicular cells expressed high levels of interleukin-1 alpha and interleukin-6 mRNA and when established in primary culture, purified thyroid follicular cells from Graves' disease as well as non-toxic goitre produced interleukin-1 alpha and interleukin-6 bioactivity spontaneously. In the case of interleukin-1 this could be further augmented by addition of lipopolysaccharide to the thyroid follicular cell cultures. These results demonstrate that the lymphocytic infiltrate found in autoimmune and non-autoimmune thyroid disorders is associated with cytokine production. Additionally we have shown that intrathyroidal cytokine production is not restricted to thyroid-infiltrating mononuclear cells, but may also involve thyroid follicular cells both in vivo and in vitro. The cytokines produced by thyroid follicular cells may have an important role in stimulating autoantigen specific T cells in vivo as both interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 facilitate T cell activation.
Autocrine production of growth factors may contribute to the rapid and fatal proliferation of acute hematologic malignancies. We have investigated whether the more controlled growth of less aggressive malignancies such as chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) may be associated with autocrine production of growth inhibitory factors. TNF inhibits the growth of both normal and leukemic hemopoietic progenitor cells. We find that exogenous TNF reduces the viability and DNA synthesis of purified myeloid cells from patients with CML and inhibits myeloid colony formation by patient progenitor cells. However, unlike progenitor cells from normal donors, patient myeloid progenitor cells also constitutively express mRNA for TNF and secrete functional TNF protein in culture. This endogenous TNF impedes the growth of CML cells because anti-TNF mAb shown to neutralize bioactive human TNF increases CML cell DNA synthesis whereas non-neutralizing anti-TNF mAb has no effect. Production of TNF by CML cells is not associated with production of lymphotoxin (TNF-beta), IL-1 or IL-6. TNF-mediated autocrine growth inhibition may contribute to the maintenance of the stable, chronic phase of this disease and similar mechanisms may operate in other malignancies to limit tumor proliferation. Competition between autocrine growth promoting and inhibiting factors may underlie the observed differences in biologic behavior between acute and chronic malignancies.
Transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) is one of a family of polypeptides involved in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation. The effects of human rTGF-beta 1 on the production of IL-1 and TNF by activated PBMC were studied. The addition of TGF-beta 1 alone caused an increase in the levels of mRNA for IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, and TGF-alpha. This was due to increased transcription rather than enhanced mRNA stability. The induced mRNA were of the appropriate size as assessed by Northern blotting. However, the mRNA did not appear to be translated into protein, inasmuch as the translation products of IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha were not detected by RIA or ELISA. Furthermore, in experiments utilizing a neutralizing antibody to TGF-beta 1, we were unable to unmask IL-1 biologic activities and unable to detect TNF biologic activity in the WEHI 164 cytotoxicity assay. TGF-beta inhibited in a dose-dependent manner the induction of IL-1 beta by LPS or TNF but not by PHA and PMA. Similarly, LPS induction of TNF-alpha was blocked by TGF-beta, whereas induction of PMA and PHA was completely resistant. TGF-beta 1 did not increase PGE2 secretion or cause elevated intracellular cAMP; thus, the inhibitory effects of TGF-beta 1 seem not to be mediated by PGE2 or cAMP, which have both been implicated in post-transcriptional control of cytokine gene expression. These findings suggest a dual role for TGF-beta 1 in the regulation of cytokine production at both transcriptional and translational levels.
IL-1 gene expression was investigated in human blood mononuclear cells. IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta mRNA were induced with LPS or TNF. Kinetic measurements on Northern blots revealed that these stimuli elicited qualitatively similar changes in IL-1 mRNA levels, and that expression of IL-1 mRNA was transient. IL-1 beta mRNA was the predominant mRNA species and remained elevated for somewhat longer than IL-1 alpha mRNA. TNF and IFN-gamma synergized to induce both species of IL-1 mRNA and IL-1 bioactivity. Transcriptional control, as measured by nuclear run on assays, partly determines the greater levels of IL-1 beta mRNA because the rate of IL-1 beta transcription was greater than that of IL-1 alpha. Cycloheximide (CHX) was able to induce IL-1 mRNA but did not induce transcription of either IL-1 gene. When added to cultures pretreated with TNF or LPS, CHX superinduced IL-1 mRNA, but IL-1 transcription was not increased. If added simultaneously CHX blocked TNF-induced IL-1 gene transcription, suggesting that TNF may induce factors required for IL-1 gene transcription. CHX increased the stability of both IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta mRNA, demonstrating the existence of a post-transcriptional form of control. In half-life experiments IL-1 beta mRNA was more stable than IL-1 alpha mRNA, indicating that post-transcriptional control also contributes to the greater steady state levels of IL-1 beta. Taken together, the available evidence suggests IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta mRNA are regulated differentially at both the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level.
The monocytic tumour, THP-1, expresses many of the properties of monocytes, both by cell surface staining and its capacity to produce monokines. It was used as a source of homogenous monocytic cells as a model to determine whether a variety of highly purified or recombinant cytokines could induce HLA-DR expression and the production of interleukin-1 (IL-1). Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) alone induced HLA-DR. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF), lymphotoxin (LT) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) alone were able to induce IL-1 but not HLA-DR. When IFN-gamma was combined with TNF, induction of HLA-DR and IL-1 was enhanced in a synergistic manner. These effects were detectable at a pretranslational level as synergistic effects were observed on DR alpha mRNA and IL-1 beta mRNA levels. The results demonstrate the specificity of IFN-gamma as the inductive stimulus for HLA-DR expression by THP-1 cells. As IFN-gamma and TNF are products of activated T cells, the synergistic role for these molecules in macrophage activation is discussed.
High levels of interleukin 6 (IL 6/B cell stimulatory factor-2) were detected in synovial fluids from the joints of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The cells found in freshly isolated synovial fluid constitutively expressed IL 6 mRNA. The synovial tissues obtained by joint biopsy were also found to produce IL 6 in vitro. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that CD2+ T cells as well as CD20+ blastoid B cells in the synovial tissues produce IL 6. The data indicate that IL 6 is generated constitutively in RA and its overproduction may explain the local as well as the generalized symptoms of RA, since IL 6 can function as B cell growth and differentiation factor as well as hepatocyte-stimulating factor.
The B lymphoproliferative disorders B chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) and hairy cell leukemia (HCL) produce a number of autocrine growth factors, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and IL-1, all of which may induce positive feedback growth loops. If such malignancies depend on these autocrine growth loops for survival, their interruption may be therapeutically valuable. Interferon alpha (IFN-alpha) abrogates TNF- or IL-6-induced proliferation of HCL and B-CLL cells in vitro and has therapeutic activity in these diseases. We have investigated the possibility that IFN-alpha may act by interrupting autocrine growth factor loops. If purified B-CLL or HCL cells are cultured in the presence of TNF, there is induction of mRNA for TNF, IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, and IL-6. However, culture in the presence of IFN-alpha in addition to TNF reduced the level of mRNA for all these cytokines, compared with cells cultured in TNF alone. While cytokine mRNA levels were diminished, levels of mRNA for the ribonuclease activator 2-5A synthetase were increased. Analysis of the kinetics of cytokine mRNA production showed that levels fall shortly after the rise of 2-5A synthetase mRNA. IFN-alpha may produce these effects by shortening the half-life of cytokine mRNA, since TNF mRNA half-life in B-CLL and HCL cells is substantially reduced when the cells are cultured with IFN-alpha. These data suggest that IFN-alpha may mediate its therapeutic effects in these malignancies by blocking autocrine growth factor loops.
The presence of neutrophils in the synovial joint of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is thought to be due to the activity of chemotactic factors released by activated cells in the joint. We have shown in this report, for the first time, the abundance of one such factor, interleukin 8 (IL 8), in the synovial fluid of patients both with RA and other non-RA joint diseases, and the spontaneous production of IL 8 mRNA by RA synovial cells in culture. There was no correlation between the levels of chemotactic activity and IL 8 protein, suggesting that other factors with similar neutrophil chemotactic activity are also present in the synovial fluid exudate. In support of this concept neither the level of chemotactic activity nor IL 8 protein levels correlated with neutrophil or leukocyte infiltration, indicating that the mechanism of migration into the inflammatory environment of the joint is complex. Such migration is likely to be due to a number of chemotactic signals in addition to IL 8, which may either synergize with, or inhibit, the action of IL 8.
The presence of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) in inflammatory joint disease was investigated. Synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and patients with other non-autoimmune inflammatory joint diseases contained high levels of both active and latent TGF-beta. Levels of active TGF-beta did not correlate with drug regimen in either patient group or with the recovery period in the individuals with non-RA joint disease. Freshly isolated synovial cells from individuals with RA were shown by Northern blotting to express the mRNA for TGF-beta 1 and to secrete latent TGF-beta protein which could be neutralized by antibodies to TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2. Lipopolysaccharide-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from normal donors produced interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) which was inhibited by pretreatment of these cells with recombinant TGF-beta. Cytokine production was not inhibited if the addition of TGF-beta was used after the inducing stimulus, suggesting that in activated cells cytokine production cannot be inhibited. This was confirmed by the observation that neither TGF-beta 1 or TGF-beta 2 inhibited spontaneous IL-1 or TNF-alpha production by rheumatoid synovial mononuclear cells in culture. These findings show that despite the presence of active TGF-beta in RA synovial joints and the spontaneous production of latent (potentially active) TGF-beta by RA cells in culture, additional TGF-beta did not inhibit ongoing cytokine synthesis in vitro. This suggests that TGF-beta may not inhibit cytokine production in the rheumatoid joint although it cannot be ruled out that in vivo TGF-beta already has an immunosuppressive effect which cannot be further increased in vitro by exogenous protein.
The cDNA for one of the receptors for human tumor necrosis factor (TNF) has been isolated. This cDNA encodes a protein of 455 amino acids that is divided into an extracellular domain of 171 residues and a cytoplasmic domain of 221 residues. The extracellular domain has been engineered for expression in mammalian cells, and this recombinant derivative binds TNF alpha with high affinity and inhibits its cytotoxic activity in vitro. The TNF receptor exhibits similarity with a family of cell surface proteins that includes the nerve growth factor receptor, the human B-cell surface antigen CD40, and the rat T-cell surface antigen OX40. The TNF receptor contains four cysteine-rich subdomains in the extracellular portion. Mammalian cells transfected with the entire TNF receptor cDNA bind radiolabeled TNF alpha with an affinity of 2.5 x 10(-9) M. This binding can be competitively inhibited with unlabeled TNF alpha or lymphotoxin (TNF beta).
The effect of recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) on the expression of HLA-DR, and the production of the cytokines interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) by human peripheral blood monocyte-enriched populations was investigated. GM-CSF was shown to induce both the expression of HLA-DR and the cytokines IL-1 and TNF alpha in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), which induced major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II expression, did not induce IL-1 or TNF alpha production. However, IFN-gamma enhanced the cell surface expression of HLA-DR and the production of IL-1 and TNF alpha on monocyte-enriched cells stimulated by GM-CSF. By itself, GM-CSF did not induce surface class II expression on the human monocytic tumour cell line THP-1, whereas it synergized with IFN-gamma to induce surface expression. These cells responded to GM-CSF by producing IL-1 and TNF alpha; Northern blotting showed that mRNA levels of IL-1 and TNF alpha were transiently induced, similar to other cytokines. Our results indicate that GM-CSF is a major macrophage activating factor that is capable of inducing both the expression of HLA-DR and the cytokines involved in T-cell activation by macrophages; therefore, GM-CSF may be of importance in potentiating antigen presenting function.
Previous studies have indicated that the cytokine transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF beta 1) has immunosuppressive properties and can inhibit the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and Interleukin 1 (IL 1) by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In this study, we have examined the effects of TGF beta 1 on the production of Interleukin 6 (IL 6) by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Treatment with only TGF beta 1 leads to the induction of IL 6, and this was both dose- and time-dependent. The effect of TGF beta 1 was evident at the level of IL 6 mRNA, suggesting TGF beta 1-induced de novo synthesis of IL 6. Induction of IL 6 by TGF beta 1 was specific, as other cytokines made by mononuclear cells (TNF and IL 1) were not induced by TGF beta 1. Furthermore, when a panel of stimuli were compared for their ability to induce IL 1, TNF and IL 6 in the presence or absence of TGF beta 1, IL 6 levels were augmented in the presence of TGF beta 1, while the induction of IL 1 and TNF was inhibited significantly. These results indicate that TGF beta 1 has complex effects on the production of cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells and that TGF beta 1 is not inhibitory for all cytokine production. The ability of TGF beta 1 to induce IL 6 suggests that IL 6 may mediate some of the effects of TGF beta 1.
One of the major functions of cytokines is their ability to regulate cell growth and differentiation. The complexity of this process has been highlighted by recent studies on murine thymocytes; it has been shown that a number of cytokines interact to regulate thymocyte growth. We have investigated the effects of interleukin 4 (IL-4) and interleukin 7 (IL-7) on human thymocyte proliferation. Although maximal proliferation was dependent upon the presence of the mitogen phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), IL-7 alone stimulated thymocyte growth. In order to determine if this proliferation was due to the induction of IL-2, this pathway was inhibited by the addition of blocking antibody to the IL-2 receptor. Proliferation induced with IL-7 plus PHA, but not that induced by IL-7 alone, could be blocked by this treatment. In contrast, IL-4 stimulated thymocyte proliferation only in the presence of PHA; this proliferation was not inhibited by antibodies to the IL-2 receptor. Our findings show that both IL-7 and IL-4 can act as growth factors for human thymocytes, and that these cytokines stimulate proliferation through distinct mechanisms.
Cultured human keratinocytes and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cell lines were analyzed for the presence of ribonucleic acid (RNA) transcripts for the cytokines interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 and for these proteins. This study demonstrates that both cytokines are synthesized and secreted by both normal keratinocytes and SCC lines. The rate of secretion of these cytokines can be augmented in response to a variety of stimuli including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor, transforming growth factor-beta and the combination of lipopolysaccharide and phorbol myristate acetate. Interleukin-1 and interleukin-6 have been reported to influence the proliferation of cultured human fibroblasts. However, these cytokines had no significant effect on the proliferation of human keratinocytes or the SCC lines tested. Although it seems unlikely that interleukin-1 or interleukin-6 could directly influence keratinocyte proliferation in vivo, the capacity of these cells to synthesize and release these cytokines supports earlier observations that keratinocytes may play an important role in augmenting an immune or inflammatory response.
In order to define whether CD4+ T cells from autoimmune and non-autoimmune thyroid tissue could be classified according to their mediator production, lymphokine production was studied in 63 thyroid-derived CD4+ T-cell clones from four patients with Graves' disease, one with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and one with non-toxic goitre (9-12 clones per patient). The production of interleukin 2 (IL-2), gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), lymphotoxin (LT), interleukin 6 (IL-6) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) was assessed at the mRNA level by slot-blot analysis in unstimulated clones as well as after activation with monoclonal anti-CD3 (OKT3) and IL-2. No lymphokine production was found in unstimulated clones, whereas 56% of the clones produced all six lymphokines simultaneously after stimulation. In the remaining 44% usually not more than one lymphokine was missing from the complete panel. Lymphokine mRNA concentrations varied between different clones and different patients, but, in this small sample, not between the diseases from which the clones were originated. There was a significant correlation between IL-6, LT, and IL-2 mRNA levels and T-cell helper function, which was estimated by the stimulation of thyroid microsomal autoantibody production using autologous peripheral B cells. TGF-beta and IFN-gamma mRNA expression was unrelated to T-cell help. The results demonstrate that intrathyroid T cells from autoimmune and non-autoimmune thyroid disorders cannot be classified according to their lymphokine production, unlike some results with in vitro-induced mouse T-cell clones, where two populations, Th1 and Th2, have been described. Single T cells are capable of producing a whole panel of lymphokines and thus are capable of triggering a multitude of different processes.
Transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) mediates many immunosuppressive effects on immune cells and can inhibit the production of tumor necrosis factor and interleukin 1 (IL 1). However, TGF-beta 1 can stimulate the production of IL 6 and platelet-derived growth factor, indicating that TGF-beta 1 initiates complex effects on the production of cytokines. In this report we show that treatment of peripheral blood monocytes with TGF-beta 1 leads to the induction of a recently described IL 1 receptor antagonist protein (IRAP). The effect of TGF-beta 1 was both dose and time dependent. TGF-beta 1 induced de novo synthesis of IRAP, as Northern blotting experiments indicated a rapid and transient induction of the mRNA encoding IRAP. The induction of IRAP suggests a potential mechanism by which some of the inhibitory effects of TGF-beta 1 are mediated.